Journal of Business Ethics 134 (1):15-27 (2016)

Digital piracy as a continuing problem significantly impacts various stakeholders, including consumers, enterprises, and countries. This study develops a three-level mechanism of determinants of consumer digital piracy behavior, with personal risk as an individual factor, susceptibility to interpersonal influence as an inter-personal factor, and moral intensity as a broad societal factor. Further, it explores the role of rationalization and future piracy intent as outcomes of past piracy behaviors. The authors use survey data from four countries in the European Union to test the system of structural relationships. With an exception of the effect of consumers’ susceptibility to interpersonal influence on piracy behavior, the conceptual model receives remarkably consistent support across the four countries. Specifically, perception of personal risk and moral intensity negatively affected the reported piracy behavior in all four countries. The results further support the negative influence of moral intensity and the positive influence of past digital piracy behavior on consumers’ use of rationalization. Lastly, personal risk, rationalization, and past digital piracy behavior directly influenced consumers’ intention to engage in digital piracy in the future. The study also discusses implications of the findings and identifies areas of future research.
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DOI 10.1007/s10551-014-2075-1
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