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Human factors in information leakage: mitigation strategies for information sharing integrity

Wai Peng Wong (School of Management, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia)
Hwee Chin Tan (School of Management, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia)
Kim Hua Tan (University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK)
Ming-Lang Tseng (Institute of innovation and circular economy, Asia University, Taichung City, Taiwan) (Department of Medical Research, China Medical University Hospital, Taichung City, Taiwan)

Industrial Management & Data Systems

ISSN: 0263-5577

Article publication date: 27 June 2019

Issue publication date: 7 August 2019




The purpose of this paper is to explore the human factors triggering information leakage and investigate how companies mitigate insider threat for information sharing integrity.


The methodology employed is multiple case studies approach with in-depth interviews with five multinational enterprises (MNEs)/multinational corporations (MNCs).


The findings reveal that information leakage can be approached with human governance mechanism such as organizational ethical climate and information security culture. Besides, higher frequency of leakages negatively affects information sharing integrity. Moreover, this paper also contributes to a research framework which could be a guide to overcome information leakage issue in information sharing.

Research limitations/implications

The current study involved MNCs/MNEs operating in Malaysia, while companies in other countries may have different ethical climate and information sharing culture. Thus, for future research, it will be good to replicate the study in a larger geographic region to verify the findings and insights of this research.

Practical implications

This research contributes to the industry and business that are striving toward solving the mounting problem of information leakage by raising awareness of human factors and to take appropriate mitigating governance strategies to pre-empt information leakage. This paper also contributes to a novel theoretical model that characterizes the iniquities of humans in sharing information, and suggests measures which could be a guide to avert disruptive leakages.


This paper is likely an unprecedented research in molding human governance in the domain of information sharing and its Achilles’ heel which is information leakage.



The authors would like to thank the Academy of Sciences Malaysia, British Academy and Newton-Ungku Omar Fund (Grant No. 304/PMGT/650912/B130) and Fundamental Research Grant Scheme (203/PMGT/6711513) to complete this research project.


Wong, W.P., Tan, H.C., Tan, K.H. and Tseng, M.-L. (2019), "Human factors in information leakage: mitigation strategies for information sharing integrity", Industrial Management & Data Systems, Vol. 119 No. 6, pp. 1242-1267.



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Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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