Ensuring employees' information security policy compliance by carrot and stick: the moderating roles of organizational commitment and gender


Purpose: Employees’ information security policy (ISP) compliance exerts a significant strain on information security management. Drawing upon the compliance theory and control theory, this study attempts to examine the moderating roles of organizational commitment and gender in the relationships between reward/punishment expectancy and employees' ISP compliance. Design/methodology/approach: Using survey data collected from 310 employees in Chinese organizations that have formally adopted information security policies, the authors applied the partial least square method to test hypotheses. Findings: Punishment expectancy positively affects ISP compliance, but reward expectancy has no significant impact on ISP compliance. Compared with committed employees, both reward expectancy and punishment expectancy have stronger impacts on low-commitment employees' ISP compliance. As for gender differences, punishment expectancy exerts a stronger effect on females' ISP compliance than it does on males. Originality/value: By investigating the moderating roles of organizational commitment and gender, this paper offers a deeper understanding of reward and punishment in the context of ISP compliance. The findings reveal that efforts in building organizational commitment will reduce the reliance on reward and punishment, and further controls rather than the carrot and stick should be applied to ensure male employees' ISP compliance.

Publication Title

Information Technology and People