Despite company fears of reputation risk, and under-reporting by organisations, the problems posed by employee computer crime are increasingly being acknowledged. Indeed, IS security researchers have turned their attention to the ‘insider’ threat and focussed on offender behaviour, both prior to and during the perpetration of employee computer crime. These areas include studies which examine those factors influencing offenders’ intentions towards computer crime, plus issues of deterrence and prevention. Currently, however, there has been a lack on insight into factors which could motivate an individual to perform such an act. This paper, therefore, focuses on motivational factors, and draws on a body of knowledge which examines employee perceptions of fairness/unfairness (or what is interchangeably termed justice/injustice) in organisations. Four fairness constructs, which collectively fall under the umbrella term ‘organisational justice’ are described, and their application to IS security is discussed. It is argued that perceived injustice can act as a motivational factor. Hence, a better understanding of how perceptions of injustice are created, affords the ability for them to be addressed, thereby enhancing IS security efforts. The implications for future research are discussed.
Robert Willison is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Informatics at Copenhagen Business School. He has a MSc. in Sociology and PhD. in Information Systems, both from the London School of Economics and Political Science. His research focuses on IS security, with a specific interest in understanding and addressing employee computer crime.