Publication Details

This article was originally published as: Dolnicar, S & Jordaan, Y, Protecting Consumer Privacy in a Company's Best Interest, Australasian Marketing Journal, 2006, 14(1), 39-61.


The increasing use of consumer databases by companies has led to increased levels of concern among consumers that their personal information may not be in safe hands once divulged to companies. A few studies have shown that consumer concern about information privacy may impact on consumer behaviour in ways directly opposed to the aims of the very marketing campaigns developed to increase sales. Should this indeed be the case, it would be in companies’ best interest to make protection of consumer privacy a priority. The aim of this paper is to investigate whether there is potential for such a market-driven mechanism of consumer privacy protection. An empirical survey within the Australian context was conducted to investigate the general level of concern among Australians about information privacy. Furthermore, associations between privacy concern levels and behaviour, as well as prior experiences with information privacy violations are examined. Results indicate that: general privacy concern levels are high; associations exist between privacy concerns and protective behaviour; people tend to protect themselves in active ways, such as requesting the removal of information, rather than in passive ways, such as changing the distribution channel to reduce risk of privacy violation exposure; reactions to violations are typically very emotional and include behavioural intentions to take the matter to court.



Link to publisher version (DOI)