New insights for an old problem: explaining software piracy through neutralization theory

Mikko Siponen, Anthony Vance, Robert Willison

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Software piracy continues to be a major economic concern for organizations. Given the widespread nature of the problem, software piracy has received attention from IS scholars. Previous research indicates that neutralization - a form of rationalization - can help to explain software piracy intentions. However, a knowledge gap exists in our understanding about which techniques of neutralization contributes most to software piracy intentions. To address this gap, we advance a model that explains the effects of neutralization techniques on software piracy intentions. For greater explanatory power, we also include formal sanctions, shame, and moral beliefs in our model. Empirical results (n=183) show that neutralization techniques "appeal to higher loyalties" and "condemnation of the condemners" strongly predict software piracy intentions. In addition, shame and moral beliefs are also strong predictors. These findings suggest that anti-piracy efforts should involve educational interventions aimed at addressing these two neutralization techniques, rather than relying on formal sanctions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 43rd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences
Place of PublicationPiscataway, NJ
Number of pages341
ISBN (Print)978-0769538693
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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