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Motivating IS security compliance: Insights from Habit and Protection Motivation Theory

Employees’ failure to comply with IS security procedures is a key concern for organizations. Prior studies have not examined the influence of past and automatic behavior on employee decisions to comply. This is an important omission because past behavior has been assumed to strongly affect decision-making. To address this, we integrated habit with Protection Motivation Theory (PMT), to explain compliance. An empirical test showed that habitual IS security compliance strongly reinforced the cognitive processes theorized by PMT, as well as employee intention for future compliance. We also found that nearly all components of PMT significantly impacted employee intention to comply with IS security policies. These results highlighted the importance of addressing employees’ past and automatic behavior in order to improve compliance.