Abstract - The Information Society 27(4)

A Comprehensive Theoretical Framework for Personal Information-Related Behaviors on the Internet

Ardion Beldad, Menno de Jong, and Michaël Steehouder

While there is near consensus on the need for privacy, the reality is that people’s attitude towards their personal information privacy is complex.  For instance, even when people claim that they value their information privacy, they often trade their personal information for tangible or intangible benefits.  In this paper the research on different ways in which people respond to risks to privacy is examined.  They include information seeking to reduce uncertainty, withholding of information, and provision of fabricated information.  The impact of trust and inducements on Internet users’ willingness to share personal information is also examined.   Thereafter, important postulates from theories in communication, social psychology, and sociology are synthesized into a comprehensive theoretical framework for personal information-related behaviors in the online environment.

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