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Organisational culture, procedural countermeasures, and employee security behaviour: A qualitative study

Lena Yuryna Connolly (School of Law, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK)
Michael Lang (Business Information Systems, National University of Ireland Galway, Galway, Ireland)
John Gathegi (School of Information, University of South Florida, Tampa, USA)
Doug J. Tygar (Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of California Berkeley Research, Berkeley, California, USA)

Information and Computer Security

ISSN: 2056-4961

Article publication date: 12 June 2017




This paper provides new insights about security behaviour in selected US and Irish organisations by investigating how organisational culture and procedural security countermeasures tend to influence employee security actions. An increasing number of information security breaches in organisations presents a serious threat to the confidentiality of personal and commercially sensitive data. While recent research shows that humans are the weakest link in the security chain and the root cause of a great portion of security breaches, the extant security literature tends to focus on technical issues.


This paper builds on general deterrence theory and prior organisational culture literature. The methodology adapted for this study draws on the analytical grounded theory approach employing a constant comparative method.


This paper demonstrates that procedural security countermeasures and organisational culture tend to affect security behaviour in organisational settings.

Research limitations/implications

This paper fills the void in information security research and takes its place among the very few studies that focus on behavioural as opposed to technical issues.

Practical implications

This paper highlights the important role of procedural security countermeasures, information security awareness and organisational culture in managing illicit behaviour of employees.


This study extends general deterrence theory in a novel way by including information security awareness in the research model and by investigating both negative and positive behaviours.



This research is based upon work done at the National University of Ireland, Galway and the University of California, Berkeley.


Yuryna Connolly, L., Lang, M., Gathegi, J. and Tygar, D.J. (2017), "Organisational culture, procedural countermeasures, and employee security behaviour: A qualitative study", Information and Computer Security, Vol. 25 No. 2, pp. 118-136.



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