Purpose – The COVID-19 pandemic necessitated a significant shift in how employees executed their professional responsibilities. Concurrently, the incidence of cybercrime experienced a noteworthy surge due to the increased utilisation of cyberspace. The abrupt transition to telecommuting altered the interpersonal dynamics inherent in traditional work environments. This paper aims to examine the impact of interpersonal factors on the cybercrime preventative measures adopted by telecommuting employees.

Design/methodology/approach – A conceptual model, grounded in the Theory of Interpersonal Behaviour, is evaluated through an online survey. The data set comprises responses from 209 employees in South Africa, and the analysis uses partial least squares structural equation modelling.

Findings – The results reveal substantial predictive power to explain cybercrime preventative behaviours. Notably, the study underscores the significant influence of habit and affect on intention and subsequent behaviour.

Practical implications – The results suggest that practitioners should give due attention to emotional dimensions (affect) as a catalyst for information security behaviour. The formulation of employees’ information security responsibilities should be pragmatic, fostering subconscious compliance to establish routine behaviour (habit).

Originality/value – This research underscores the pivotal roles played by habit and emotions in shaping behavioural patterns related to information security. Furthermore, it provides researchers with an illustrative model for operationalising these constructs within the realm of security. The results contribute additional perspectives on the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic on cybercrime preventative behaviours.


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Cite as

Wright, T., Ruhwanya, Z. & Ophoff, J. 2024, 'Using the theory of interpersonal behaviour to explain employees' cybercrime preventative behaviour during the pandemic', Information and Computer Security. https://doi.org/10.1108/ICS-11-2023-0228

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Last updated: 16 April 2024
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