Does ethical ideology affect software piracy attitude and behaviour An empirical investigation of computer users in China

Yee Kwong Chan, Jennifer W.M. Lai

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


This study empirically examines Chinese computer users ethical ideology and its relationship to their software piracy attitude and behaviour. The investigation reveals several important findings. First, cluster analysis results show that Chinese computer users can be divided into four ethical ideology types (i.e., situationists, absolutists, subjectivists, and exceptionists) reasonably consistent with Forsyth's taxonomy. Second, when compared with situationists, absolutists, and exceptionists, subjectivists are found to have the least unfavourable attitude towards software piracy and are most frequently engaged in software piracy. Third, Chinese computer users ideological relativism exerts a stronger influence on their software piracy attitude and behaviour than does their ideological idealism. The findings suggest that the government, and authentic software developers and vendors should focus on subjectivists as their target audience of anti-software piracy communications. These policy makers and practitioners should also make concerted efforts to help subjectivists better realise how their software piracy act may damage parties proximate to themselves so as to lower the rate of software piracy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)659-673
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Journal of Information Systems
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2011


  • China
  • computer users' ethics
  • ethical ideology
  • software piracy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Library and Information Sciences

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