Risk Communication, Risk Perception and Information Security

  • Malcolm Pattinson
  • Grantley Anderson
Part of the IFIP International Federation for Information Processing book series (IFIPAICT, volume 193)


This paper puts forward the view that an individual’s perception of the risks associated with information systems determines the likelihood and extent to which she or he will engage in risk taking behaviour when using a computer. It is suggested that this behavior can be manipulated by ‘framing’ a communication concerning information system risk in a particular manner. In order to achieve major effectiveness in getting an information security message across to a computer user, this paper discusses and demonstrates how his or her individual cognitive style should be considered when framing the risk message. It then follows that if the risk taking bchaviour of computer users becomes less risky due to an increase in the level of perceived risk, then the level of information security increases.


Information Security Risk Perception Risk Communication Field-Dependent (FD) Field-Independent (FI) Framing 

8. References

  1. Backhouse J., Bener A., Chauvidul N., Wamala F. & Willison R., 2004, “Risk Management in Cyberspace”, Available at, viewed 27 April 2005.Google Scholar
  2. Bener, A. B., 2000, “Risk Perception, Trust and Credibility: A Case in Internet Banking”, PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Sciences, Available at, viewed 27 April 2005.Google Scholar
  3. Chinien, C. A., 1990, “Examination of Cognitive Style FD/FI as a Learner Selection Criterion in Formative Evaluation”, Canadian Journal of Educational Communication, Vol 19, pp. 19–39.Google Scholar
  4. Fischhoff B., Bostrom A. & Quadrel M. J., 1993, “Risk Perception and Communication”, Annual Review of Public Health, Vol. 14, pp. 183–203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Heimer, C. A., 1988, “Social Structure, Psychology, and the Estimation of Risk”, Annual Review of Sociology, Vol 14, pp. 491–519.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Jackson J., Allum, N. & Gaskell, G., 2004, “Perceptions of Risk in Cyberspace”, Available at, viewed 27 April 2005.Google Scholar
  7. Johnson C, 2002, Available at, viewed 28 July 2004.Google Scholar
  8. McNeil B. J., Pauker S. G., Sox H. C. & Tversky A., 1982, “On the Elicitation of Preferences for Alternative Therapies”, New England Journal of Medicine, Vol 306, pp 1259–1262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Meyerowitz B. E. & Chaiken S., 1987, “The Effect of Message Framing on Breast Self-examination Attitudes, Intentions and Behaviour”, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 52, No. 3, pp 500–510.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. O’Neill P., 2004, “Developing A Risk Communication Model to Encourage Community Safety from Natural Hazards”, paper presented at the Fourth NSW Safe Communities Symposium, Sydney, NSW.Google Scholar
  11. Otway H. J., 1980, “Risk Perception: A Psychological Perspective”, Technological Risk: Its Perspective and Handling in Europe, M. Dierkes, S. Edwards & R. Coppock.Google Scholar
  12. Russo J. & Schoemaker, P. J. H., 1989, Confident Decision Making, London, Piaktus Press.Google Scholar
  13. Tan F.B., 1999, “Exploring Business-IT Alignment Using the Repertory Grid”, Proceedings of the 10th Australasian Conference on Information Systems.Google Scholar
  14. Tversky A. & Kahneman D., 1981, “The Framing of Decisions and the Psychology of Choice”, Science, Vol. 211, pp 243–248.MathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  15. Wilson R. M. S., 2001, “The Framing of Financial Decisions: A pilot study”, Research Series Paper 2001:3, ISBN 1859011713, Loughborough University.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© International Federation for Information Processing 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Malcolm Pattinson
    • 1
  • Grantley Anderson
    • 2
  1. 1.University of South AustraliaAustralia
  2. 2.Anderson AnalysesAustralia

Personalised recommendations