The effect of interpersonal influence on softlifting intention and behaviour

Journal of Business Ethics 56 (2):149 - 161 (2005)
The purpose of this study is to investigate the effect of interpersonal influence on personal software piracy, also known as softlifting. A laboratory experiment with 54 subjects was conducted, in which each subject was told to participate in a software quality evaluation exercise. However, a ploy was carried out to measure the subjects intention in software piracy under different levels of group pressure and financial gains. The results are interesting. On the intention of softlifting, both group pressure and financial gains are significant determinants. The interaction of group pressure and financial gains is also significant: when group pressure is toward pirating software, financial gains is not a relevant factor; whereas when group pressure is toward purchasing, financial gains becomes a dominant factor in softlifting intention. A further survey (with 216 college students from two public universities in Taiwan) designed to investigate the relationship between consumer susceptibility to interpersonal influence (Bearden et al., 1989) and softlifting intention/behavior. A path analysis demonstrated that normative influence was related to softlifting intention, yet information influence effect was marginal. The effect of normative influence on softlifting behavior was mainly mediated by softlifting intention. Implications are also discussed.
Keywords conformity  financial gains  group pressure  information ethics  softlifting  software piracy
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