The Adaptive Roles of Positive and Negative Emotions in Organizational Insiders’ Security-Based Precaution Taking


TR Number



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS)


Protecting organizational information is a top priority for most firms. This reality, coupled with the fact that organizational insiders control much of their organizations’ valuable information, has led both researchers and practitioners to acknowledge the importance of insiders’ behavior for information security (InfoSec). Until recently, researchers have employed only a few theories to understand these influences, and this has generated calls for a broadened theoretical repertoire. Given this opportunity, we incorporate the framework of emotions developed in the information systems (IS) discipline by Beaudry and Pinsonneault (2010) and add the broaden-and-build theory (BBT) to understand the influence of discrete positive and negative emotions on insiders’ precaution-taking activities. Our findings demonstrate that the relationship between both positive and negative emotions and precaution taking is mediated by insiders’ (1) psychological capital (PsyCap), a higher-order, work-related construct of positive psychological resource capabilities, and (2) psychological distancing, a coping mechanism characterized by insiders’ attempts to detach themselves psychologically from a situation. By considering these factors, our model explains 32 percent of the variance in insiders’ precaution taking in organizations. Researchers and practitioners can use these findings to develop effective insider InfoSec training, including emotional appeals that increase insiders’ precaution taking.



Information security (InfoSec), organizational security, emotions, precaution taking, broaden-and-build theory (BBT), positive psychology, psychological distancing, psychological capital (PsyCap), Pub Elite, AACSB Table 1 Scholar Contribution, Information Systems, 0806 Information Systems, 1503 Business and Management, 1505 Marketing