Abstract - The Information Society 29(4)

The Software Piracy Decision Making Process of Chinese Computer Users

Ricky Y. K.  Chan, Katherine H. Y. Ma and Y. H. Wong

Drawing on Jones’ ethical model and Ajzen’s theory of planned behavior, this study proposes and tests an integrative model for the decision-making process underlying software piracy. Survey data collected from computer users in Guangzhou, China in accordance with two software piracy scenarios under study – end user piracy and software counterfeiting – provide general support for the model.  Consistent with major propositions of the theory of planned behavior, the findings show that Chinese computer users’ perceived moral intensity of software piracy significantly affects their corresponding moral recognition, judgment, and intention in both scenarios. Moreover, a direct influence of moral judgment on attitude toward software piracy is found in both scenarios.  With regard to end user piracy in specific, the findings further echo the theory of planned behavior by demonstrating a direct influence of attitude, subjective norm, and perceived behavioral control on intention to pirate. As in the case of software counterfeiting, the findings, however, show that only attitude and subjective norm but not perceived behavioral control significantly influence this intention. Implications derived from this study suggest the potential to synthesize ethical and general social psychological concepts to explain software piracy behavior, and also furnish insights on how to deter software piracy in China.

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