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Why Do Data Analysts Take IT-Mediated Shortcuts? An Ego-Depletion Perspective

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Abstract

We aim to understand why employees take information technology (IT)-mediated shortcuts, that is, skipping one or several steps for completing tasks quicker by bending the rules. This is a specific and often detrimental form of noncompliant behavior. Adopting an ego-depletion perspective, we posit that IT complexity drives IT-mediated shortcuts by increasing employees’ ego-depletion. Extending this view, we use a modified Delphi study and build on self-regulatory and goal setting theories to point to key boundary conditions for these effects. First, in a preliminary study we found that taking IT-mediated shortcuts in our context is, on average, detrimental to employee performance. This highlighted the need to focus on IT-mediated shortcuts. Next, we tested our assertions with three experiments focusing on the use of dashboards with 584 data analysts. The results show that (1) dashboard complexity increases ego depletion, (2) ego depletion fully mediates the impact of dashboard complexity on taking IT-mediated shortcuts, (3) moral integrity moderates the influence of ego depletion on taking IT-mediated shortcuts, and (4) outcome compared to learning goals enhance the impact of ego depletion on IT-mediated shortcuts. In all studies, objectively measured IT-mediated shortcut-taking was negatively associated with objectively measured task performance. Ultimately, the integrated perspective explains whether, how, and under what conditions IT complexity drives IT-mediated shortcuts.

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Information systems security (ISS) behavioral research has produced different models to explain security policy compliance. This paper (1) reviews 11 theories that have served the majority of previous information security behavior models, (2) empirically compares these theories (Study 1), (3) proposes a unified model, called the unified model of information security policy compliance (UMISPC), which integrates elements across these extant theories, and (4) empirically tests the UMISPC in a new study (Study 2), which provided preliminary empirical support for the model. The 11 theories reviewed are (1) the theory of reasoned action, (2) neutralization techniques, (3) the health belief model, (4) the theory of planned behavior, (5) the theory of interpersonal behavior, (6) the protection motivation theory, (7) the extended protection motivation theory, (8) deterrence theory and rational choice theory, (9) the theory of self-regulation, (10) the extended parallel processing model, and (11) the control balance theory. The UMISPC is an initial step toward empirically examining the extent to which the existing models have similar and different constructs. Future research is needed to examine to what extent the UMISPC can explain different types of ISS behaviors (or intentions thereof). Such studies will determine the extent to which the UMISPC needs to be revised to account for different types of ISS policy violations and the extent to which the UMISPC is generalizable beyond the three types of ISS violations we examined. Finally, the UMISPC is intended to inspire future ISS research to further theorize and empirically demonstrate the important differences between rival theories in the ISS context that are not captured by current measures.
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Although the literature on information representation in decision support has argued for a long time that the way in which information is presented to decision makers should fit both task characteristics and the cognitive style of decision makers, the latter aspect has received much less attention in empirical research. Most studies that took into account cognitive style used rather general instruments to measure it, which do not focus on the specifics of managerial decision making. In this paper, we describe an experiment that uses an instrument specifically developed for a managerial context to study the relationship between cognitive style and decision performance when using tabular or graphical representations. We also take into account that having to deal with a misfitting information representation depletes cognitive resources, and thus might not only impede the solution of the current problem, but also impact subsequent problems. Our results confirm that a mismatch between information representation and cognitive style indeed has effects that last beyond the solution of the current decision problem.
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The way in which people manage information disclosure contributes to one of the biggest challenges of the information age – online privacy. The current study sheds a light on the privacy paradox, a gap between attitudes and behaviour, by exploring the role of cognitive scarcity in privacy disclosure behaviour. Using a large sample of the UK online general population (N = 969), we conducted a Randomised Controlled Trial experiment to test the effect of two forms of induced cognitive scarcity: ego depletion and working memory load, on information disclosure levels. Results indicate a significant effect of both forms of scarcity on information disclosure in the direction of increasing the latter, even in the context of a generalised high disclosure. Findings are discussed in light of the privacy paradox, future research, possible remedies and interventions.
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Purpose The purpose of this paper is to empirically investigate the negative casual relationships between organizational security factors (security systems, security education, and security visibility) and individual non-compliance causes (work impediment, security system anxiety, and non-compliance behaviors of peers), which have negative influences on compliance intention. Design/methodology/approach Based on literature review, the authors propose a research model together with hypotheses. The survey questionnaires were developed to collect data, which then validated the measurement model. The authors collected 415 responses from employees at manufacturing and service firms that had already implemented security policies. The hypothesized relationships were tested using the structural equation model approach with AMOS 18.0. Findings Survey results validate that work impediment, security system anxiety, and non-compliance peer behaviors are the causes of employee non-compliance. In addition, the authors found that security systems, security education, and security visibility decrease instances of non-compliance. Research limitations/implications Organizations should establish a mixture of security investment in their systems, education, and visibility in order to effectively reduce employees’ non-compliance. In addition, organizations should recognize the importance of minimizing the particular causes of employees’ non-compliance to positively increase intentions to comply with information security. Originality/value An important issue in information security management is employee compliance. Understanding the reasons behind employees’ non-compliance is a critical issue. This paper investigates empirically why employees do not comply, and how organizations can induce employees to comply by a mixture of investments in security systems, education, and visibility.
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Across two studies, we investigated individual differences in the tendency to cut corners at work, and assessed whether a range of personality traits predict this behavior. In two independent samples of Australians (N = 533) and Americans (N = 589), we examined individual differences in cutting corners at work and tested sex differences and the surrounding nomological network of cutting corners. Collectively, we found that men were more likely than women were to cut corners at work, which was fully a function of individual differences in psychopathy, Machiavellianism, and conscientious. Various personality traits accounted for individual differences in the tendency to cut corners at work, indicating that individuals with this tendency may be morally compromised, selfish, impulsive, and not forward-thinking. Results were generally unaffected by contextual factors, such as the hypothetical risks and rewards associated with cutting corners. In our discussion, we focus on the deleterious consequences of cutting corners and the importance of selection and Human Resource practices that address the potential fallout from having such people in the workplace.
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While the IS literature offers rich insights into the kinds, causes and consequences of unethical information technology use (UITU), we know little about the degree to which legal intervention may mitigate UITU. Our research aims at understanding how legal intervention could mitigate UITU by influencing the cost-benefit analysis in determining the decision to commit such unethical use of IT. Our contributions are twofold. First, we provide testable propositions on the role of legal intervention. Second, we offer an innovative take on intervention – conceived as a multi-mechanism process that adapts to UITU as well as to the way IT users negotiate the IT artifact.
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Does the extent of cheating depend on a proper reference point? We use a real effort task that implements a two (gain versus loss frame) times two (monitored performance versus unmonitored performance) between-subjects design to examine whether cheating is reference-dependent. Our experimental findings show that self-reported performance in the unmonitored condition is significantly higher than actual performance in the monitored condition — a clear indication for cheating. However, the level of cheating is by far higher in the loss frame than in the gain frame. Furthermore, men are much more strongly affected by the framing than women.
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Interruption and Type A behavior as causes of overload in police radio dispatchers were examined in this observational study. All of the dispatchers (N = 72) were observed throughout one work shift, and about one half of the sample were observed for two additional shifts. For each work activity, observers recorded whether it was finished before the next activity was begun (sequential processing), left unfinished so that the dispatcher could attend fully to a new demand (preemption), or processed but ultimately left unfinished while the dispatcher simultaneously attended to one or more new demands (simultaneity). Analysis revealed that subjects who more often had their activities preempted or who handled demands simultaneously appraised their work as more overloading and took more coping actions. The effect of objective work volume on appraisal was indirect, mediated by interruption. Regardless of the level of interruption, Type A subjects proved to have lower thresholds for appraising demands as overloading and taking coping actions than did Type B subjects. These findings implicate interruption as a critical factor in job stress among human service professionals and also demonstrate the importance of measuring objective work demands in studies of this phenomenon.
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Making choices, responding actively instead of passively, restraining impulses, and other acts of self-control and volition all draw on a common resource that is limited and renewable, akin to strength or energy. After an act of choice or self-control, the self's resources have been expended, producing the condition of ego depletion. In this state, the self is less able to function effectively, such as by regulating itself or exerting volition. Effects of ego depletion appear to reflect an effort to conserve remain ing resources rather than full exhaustion, although in principle full exhaustion is possible. This versatile but limited resource is crucial to the self's optimal functioning, and the pervasive need to conserve it may result in the commonly heavy reliance on habit, routine, and automatic processes.
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With increased pressure to perform, fewer resources, and more regulation, employees may justify a lack of compliance by calling it rule-bending rather than rule-breaking. The present study addresses this concern by analyzing situations where personnel decide to bend the rules, including an examination of motives, prudential judgment, and perceived threat to the organization. Qualitative analysis shows that when rule-bending was considered necessary, the perceived threat of this behavior to the organization was reduced, except when officials applied prudential judgment in their decision-making. Implications and future research are discussed.
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Se hace una descripción teórica de los seis estadios del desarrollo moral agrupados en tres niveles: nivel preconvencional (estadios 1 y 2), nivel convencional (estadios 3 y 4) y el nivel postconvencional (estadios 5 y 6). Estos tres niveles de juicio moral corresponden a tres niveles de perspectiva social: perspectiva individual-concreta, perspectiva de-miembro-de-la-sociedad y perspectiva anterior-a-la-sociedad. En cada uno de los estadios se pueden encontrar cuatro orientaciones morales que definen cuatro tipos de estrategias de decisión: orden normativo, consecuencia utilitaria, justicia y equidad, y el yo ideal. El autor propone desarrollar un sistema de clasificación más estructural, tipificando los tipos de contenidos utilizados en cada estadio, que denomina clasificación de los tópicos. Finalmente expone una teoría cognitivo-evolutiva de la moralización para explicar esta descripción del desarrollo moral y la contrasta con otros enfoques.
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One way that employees contribute to organizational effectiveness is by expressing voice. They may offer suggestions for how to improve the organization (promotive voice behavior), or express concerns to prevent harmful events from occurring (prohibitive voice behavior). Although promotive and prohibitive voice are thought to be distinct types of behavior, very little is known about their unique antecedents and consequences. In this study we draw on regulatory focus and ego depletion theories to derive a theoretical model that outlines a dynamic process of the antecedents and consequences of voice behavior. Results from two multiwave field studies revealed that promotion and prevention foci have unique ties to promotive and prohibitive voice, respectively. Promotive and prohibitive voice, in turn, were associated with decreases and increases, respectively, in depletion. Consistent with the dynamic nature of self-control, depletion was associated with reductions in employees’ subsequent voice behavior, regardless of the type of voice (promotive or prohibitive). Results were consistent across two studies and remained even after controlling for other established antecedents of voice and alternative mediating mechanisms beside depletion.