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Business and Professional Ethics Journal

Volume 30, Issue 1/2, 2011

Kirsten E. Martin
Pages 1-32

TMI (Too Much Information)
The Role of Friction and Familiarity in Disclosing Information

Organizations have a vested interest in customers, employees, and users to disclose information within existing expectations of privacy. This empirical examination uses theoretical sampling and experimental design to identify the factors individuals consider when disclosing information within privacy expectations. The findings from a factorial vignette survey are theoretically generalizable and show that an individual’s relationship to the recipient (familiarity) and the degree to which the information is protected from being easily transferred to others (friction) positively influence the odds that disclosure is judged to be within privacy expectations. The results have implications for data gathering and management of customer, user, and employee information, and suggest a two pronged strategy for organizations targeting the disclosure of information by individuals inside and outside the organization: (1) taking into consideration the familiarity of the recipient and (2) increasing the information friction of the environment.

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