Do it yourself or get it done? Enhancing SME CEOs’ decision-making regarding Information Security

Yves Barlette, Annabelle Jaouen

Abstract


This research addresses the determinants of CEOs’ actions regarding the information security (ISS) of small and medium enterprises (SMEs). This article aims to (a) identify factors influencing CEOs’ ISS actions, (b) examine the relevance of protection motivation theory (PMT) in explaining top management support (TMS, i.e., supportive actions), and (c) find potential differentiated effects on protective vs. supportive actions.

The results of a questionnaire-based survey (N=200) show that the PMT and social influence constructs, while explaining a significant amount of variance, exert differentiated effects: in contrast with protective actions, which are influenced mainly by self-efficacy, SME CEOs’ supportive actions are strongly affected by the social influence of peers (partners and competitors) and customers.

At a theoretical level, this research validates the relevance of the PMT framework for the study of TMS determinants in the context of ISS. This study is also the first to distinguish between these two types of actions and offers new insights on CEOs’ ISS-related behavior literature. For practitioners, the results imply that even when CEOs do not exert protective actions, it is important to build on their professional relations to trigger and enhance their supportive actions.


Keywords


ISS; CEO; SME; Protection Motivation Theory; Top Management Support

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.9876/sim.v24i3.964

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