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Author ORCID Identifier


Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Traci J. Hess

Subject Categories

Business Administration, Management, and Operations | Management Information Systems | Technology and Innovation


Online Health Communities provide a rich, context-specific scenario for the study of privacy, which promises to enhance our knowledge of this complex phenomena. Online communities are only successful to the extent that individuals join and participate in the communities, and privacy concerns are a barrier to this success. In this dissertation, the privacy calculus and the agentic perspective of social cognitive theory provide the theoretical foundation for studying privacy in online communities. The first study represents a comprehensive literature review of online privacy in IS. Several research opportunities are found in the literature including limited empirical work on the roles of control and information sensitivity. Privacy assurances are identified as needing further exploration from an interface design perspective. Finally, the causal nature of risk and trust, are identified as experiencing tension in the extant literature. The second study consists of an experiment manipulating control, privacy assurances and information sensitivity, and the effects on privacy concerns, risk, trust, and intention to disclose information online. The privacy calculus is introduced as the theoretical background for this study, and the research model confirms the importance of control in the literature. This chapter explores the nature of the formation of trust and risk when individuals transact online. The privacy calculus theory is adopted and expanded providing practitioner-level insights for the design of the web artifact. The second empirical study focuses on the role of control in the privacy phenomena and incorporates a richer contextualization of control based on the agentic perspective of social cognitive theory. This factorial design experiment utilizes a survey and an online health community as context to investigate the effect of different types of control (personal, proxy and collective) on risk, trust and intention to disclose. These types of control are found to have a complementary effect on different aspects of the phenomena. A model comparison via structural equation modeling is provided to expand the understanding of the directional relationship between risk and trust. Taken together, these dissertation chapters expand our understanding of privacy concerns in online communities and discover new applications of important constructs previously not addressed by the literature.


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.