Title: The moral decision-making process of unauthorised downloading
Authors: Eva Hofmann; Elfriede Penz
Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, Coventry University, Priory Street, Coventry, CV1 5FB, UK
Institute for International Marketing Management, WU, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Welthandelsplatz 1, 1020 Vienna, Austria
Abstract: Unauthorised downloading has become an established behaviour in today's digital society, but the stages of individuals' decision-making processes guiding unauthorised downloading have been examined only fragmentarily. Comparing the different decision processes of intended downloaders and non-downloaders highlights aspects of the processes that can be modified for the benefit of digital society. The issue-contingent model of ethical decision-making in organisations (Jones, 1991) is applied to compare the decision-making process for the unauthorised downloading of digital leisure goods. Additionally, the impact of subfactors of moral intensity on the decision process is compared. Respondent groups differ in the effect of social consensus on the decision-making process. Additionally, the entire issue-contingent model is important in internet piracy research. From a practical view and based on social consensus results, it is essential for companies to establish sentiments that unauthorised downloading is an unacceptable behaviour within a specific social group that is highly relevant to downloaders.
Keywords: file sharing; issue-contingent model; ethical decision making; ethics; internet piracy; leisure goods; moral intensity; moral decision making; unauthorised downloading; illegal downloading; digital goods; unacceptable behaviour.
Int. J. of Business Environment, 2016 Vol.8, No.4, pp.385 - 407
Submission date: 16 Sep 2016
Date of acceptance: 20 Sep 2016
Available online: 02 Dec 2016