University of Cincinnati Lindner College of Business

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The Effects of Media Capabilities on the Rationalization of Online Consumer Fraud

Author(s): Andrew Harrison

Status: Accepted
Year: 2017
Publication Name: Journal of the Association for Information Systems
Volume: forthcoming


We develop and empirically test a model of computer-mediated fraud to determine how the capabilities of communication technologies affect fraud. Our model is based on research about the rationalization of fraud, media capabilities, and computer-mediated deception. We find that the capabilities of a communication technology affect the rationalization process and that some capabilities increase one’s willingness to engage in fraud behaviors while other capabilities deter fraud behaviors. Our findings support the position that media capabilities do affect the rationalization to engage in fraud. However, we find that not all media capabilities have a significant effect. Media capabilities that mask cues of deceit increase the willingness of individuals to engage in fraudulent activities while media capabilities that expose cues of deceit deter individuals from rationalizing acts of fraud. Media offering greater capabilities for reprocessability and transmission velocity decrease the rationalization of fraud whereas greater capabilities for anonymity and rehearsability increase the rationalization of fraud. In contrast, symbol set variety and parallelism did not significantly affect the rationalization of fraud.


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