Date of Conferral







Anthony Lolas


Target Corporation experienced an information security breach resulting in compromising customers' financial information. Management is responsible for implementing adequate information security policies that protect corporate data and minimize financial losses. The purpose of this experimental study was to examine the effect of a fear appeal communication on an individual's information security policy behavioral intention. The sample population involved information technology professionals randomly selected from the SurveyMonkey audience. A research model, developed using constructs from deterrence theory and protection motivation theory, became the structural model used for partial least squares-structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM) analysis of the survey response data, which indicated that self-efficacy was statistically significant. The remaining model variables, perceived threat vulnerability, perceived threat severity, response efficacy, informal sanction certainty, informal sanction severity, formal sanction certainty, and formal sanction severity, were not statistically significant. A statistically significant self-efficacy result could indicate confidence among the population to comply with information security policies. The nonsignificant results could indicate the fear appeal treatment did not motivate a change in behavior or information security policy awareness bias was introduced by selecting information technology professionals. Social change in information security could be achieved by developing an effective information security policy compliance fear appeal communication, which could change information security compliance behavior and contribute to securing the nation's critical cyber infrastructure and protecting data.