Avoidance behaviour towards using pirated software: testing a seven-component model on SME employees
Information Technology and People
Purpose: This research aims to develop and test a conceptual model for shaping small and medium enterprise (SME) employees' avoidance behaviour towards using pirated software. The model specifies the components of morality, spirituality, emotional intelligence and ethical values that influence employees' avoidance behaviour towards using pirated software. Design/methodology/approach: A conceptual framework was developed and tested on the basis of information technology and management literature by using data from 275 influential and active employees of SMEs. Data were collected via a survey and analysed through covariance-based structural equation modeling (CB-SEM). Findings: In the context of SMEs, employees' avoidance behaviour towards using pirated software is motivated by significant moral antecedents. Moral equity and judgement significantly influence employees' avoidance behaviour towards using pirated software when moral emotion mediates such a relationship. In addition, individual spirituality significantly moderates the relationship between moral equity and moral emotion. Employees' emotional intelligence optimises the strength of the relationship between moral judgement and moral emotion. Employees' likelihood to engage in unethical behaviour decreases when they exhibit strong ethical values in the relationship between moral emotion and their behaviour towards using pirated software. Research limitations/implications: This study offers theoretical support for employees' avoidance behaviour towards using pirated software. The findings of this cross-sectional work have limited generalisability. Single-country data may not be generalised to SME employees in other countries. Thus, cross-country analysis and additional measures and antecedents must be developed and identified in the future. Practical implications: Policymakers and managers should consciously review the proposed seven-component model that causes SME employees to avoid the use of pirated software. Ethical standards that lessen the use of pirated software can be improved if managers and policymakers understand the components of moral equity and judgement that influence moral emotions. Originality/value: This study is the first to examine the specific antecedents of the ethical standards and avoidance behaviours of SME employees towards the use of pirated software. As such, it provides a foundation for further studies on this critical area and software piracy in the context of SMEs in an emerging economy, which is limited in current literature.
Open Access Status
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