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Morgan Shepherd, International Journal of Human-computer Interaction

Morgan Shepherd

Morgan Shepherd, International Journal of Human-computer Interaction

Shepherd, M. M., Mejias, R

Nontechnical Deterrence Effects of Mild and Severe Internet Use Policy Reminders in Reducing Employee Internet Abuse

This two-stage longitudinal study examines how employee Internet abuse may be reduced by nontechnical deterrence methods, specifically via organizational acceptable use policies (AUPs). This study used actual employee usage and audit logs (not self-reporting survey measures) to monitor the web activity of employees.


While computers and the rapid availability of data and information from the Internet have enriched and expanded the personal and professional lives of information workers, (Howard, Rainie, & Jones, 2001; Shu, Tu, & Wang, 2011;Van-Schaik & Ling, 2005), employee technology abuse continues to be a major concern for organizations. Technology abuse can take many forms such as violations of cyber-security policy, breaches of restricted IT resources, piracy of copyrighted information, unauthorized transfer of intellectual property, and employee Internet abuse. Employee Internet abuse, often termed "cyber loafing" or "cyber-slacking,"entails employees using organizational resources to access the Internet during work hours for personal purposes (Glassman, Prosch, & Shao, 2015; Henle, Kohut, & Booth,2009; Vitak, Crouse, & LaRose, 2011). Internet abuse during employee work hours involves various nonwork-related Internet activities such as online chatting, personal customer shopping, personal (i.e., nonbusiness) emails, downloading music, online gaming, blogging, instant messaging, stock trading, online gambling, and various forms of pornography and cybercrime (Henle et al., 2009; Lee & Tsai, 2010; Shepherd,Mejias, & Klein, 2014; Vitak et al., 2011). It is estimated from 63% to 80% of employees use the Internet during work hours for personal purposes, with some employees spending 10 hr or more per week engaged in nonbusiness-related Internet activities (Conner, 2013). Such abuse generates a discernible loss of productivity for both employees and organizations (Henle et al., 2009; Shih, Hsu, Yen, & Lin, 2012; Siponen &Vance, 2010). Additionally, Internet abuse and cyber loafing tie up network and transmission bandwidth, degrade system performance, and increase the legal liability for organizations in terms of copyright infringement, intellectual property theft, and the downloading of unlicensed software (D'Arcy &Devaraj, 2012; Henle et al., 2009; Young & Case, 2004).