Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Gurpreet Dhillon

Second Advisor

Dr. Roland Weistroffer

Third Advisor

Dr. Manu Gupta

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Spyridon Samonas


Many organizations have a problem with synchronizing individual values regarding information security with expectations set by the relevant security policy. Such discordance leads to failure in compliance or simply subversion of existing or imposed controls. The problem of the mismatch in understanding the security policies amongst individuals in an organization has devastating effect on security of the organization. Different individuals hold different understanding and knowledge about IS security, which is reflected on IS security policies design and practice (Vaast, 2007). Albrecthsen and Hovdena (2009) argue that users and managers practice IS security differently because they have different rationalities. This difference in rationalities may reflect the mismatch between the security policies and individuals’ values.

In this research, we argue that occurrence of security breach can change individuals’ values in light of security policy of organization. These changes in the values can be reflected on the compliance between individuals’ norms and security rules and standards. Indeed, organizations need to guarantee the compliance between security policy and values of their employees. Thus, they can alleviate or prevent violations of security of organization. However, it is difficult to find a common method that all organizations can adopt to guarantee the synch between security rules and individuals’ norms.

The main aim of this research is to investigate how people perceive information security policy and how their perceptions change in response to security breaches. Besides, this research aims to investigate the relationship between individuals’ values and security policy. Thus, organizations can have the intended level of compliance between individual norms and security rules and standards.

With the aid of the Repertory Grid technique, this research examines how a security breach shapes people’s values with respect to security policy of an organization. To conduct the argument, this research offers an assessment mechanism that aids the organization to evaluate employees’ values in regard to security policy. Based on that evaluation, the organization can develop a proper mechanism to guarantee compliance between individuals’ norms and security rules. The results of this research show that employees in an organization hold different perceptions regarding the security policy. These perceptions change in response to security incident. This change in perceptions dose not necessarily result in better compliance with the security policy. Factors like the type of breach and people’s experience can affect the amount of change in the perceptions. Contributions, implications, and directions for future research of this study will be discussed.


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