Date of Graduation

12-2018

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration (PhD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Information Systems

Advisor

Christina Serrano

Committee Member

Rajiv Sabherwal

Second Committee Member

Varun Grover

Third Committee Member

Anne O'Leary-kelly

Keywords

Coping Responses, Identity Threats, Information Communication Technololgies

Abstract

With the rising use of social media, people are increasingly experiencing, and responding to, identity threats online. This sometimes leads to online backlash via “cybermobs” or the creation of online social movements that traverse offline. Prior information systems (IS) research on identity threats and responses largely focuses on information communication technology (ICT) implementations within organizations in an offline context. Therefore, we lack understanding of ICT-mediated identity threats and responses and ways to promote healthier and productive interactions online. This two-essay dissertation seeks to fill this gap. Essay 1 combines a review of ICT-mediated identity threats with a qualitative study (based on interviews) to examine: (a) the types of identity threats that ICT enables; and (b) the nature of effects of ICT on identity threats. Essay 2 is a mixed-methods study that investigates how the identity threat and response process (ITARP) can evolve when mediated by ICT. The study is based on event sequence analysis of ICT-mediated ITARP in 50 viral stories where identity threats were triggered online, supplemented by interview data from individuals involved in some of the stories. Results suggest four distinct patterns of ICT-mediated identity threats and responses. Cumulatively, the results from the two essays highlight the role of digital media in influencing both ICT-mediated identity threats as well as the process of identity threat and response.

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