Church and Thambusamy examine what kinds of roles competition plays in determining intentions toward online social network users’ personal information deception (PID) which is defined as “purposeful misrepresentation of, or refusal to disclose, personal data in an online context.” According to the research, the desire for online competition with other online social network (OSN) users influences consumers’ intentions toward PID. By analyzing the data from 499 students at a state university in the southeastern United States, it is shown that the desire for competition is antecedent to PID behavior in the OSN sites. The data supports that while the online competitive desire has a positive relation to the intention of misrepresentation of personal information, the desire has a negative relation to the intention of refusal to disclose personal information. Moreover, it is supported that perceived status benefits and hedonic benefits are related to the online competitive desire on OSN. However, competitive social norms have nothing to do with the desire for online competition on OSN.
Personal information deception can be related to social comparison which we studied in the reading for week 4. In the reading,
as Fiona Huang mentioned, Garcia et al. state that social comparison can lead to competitive behavior. Based on social comparison theory, people are motivated to improve their performance and minimize gaps between their and others at the same time due to a basic drive. It can be said that misrepresenting personal information enables them to decrease the discrepancies between them and others and protect their superiority on OSN even though it is not true in a real life. Thus, the intention of misrepresentation can be explained by social comparison theory.
As Church and Thambusamy stated, it is risky to generalize the results gained from the research only conducted in the southeastern US to other groups because of cultural differences. I think that they should also take age, nationality, race, ethnicity, and occupation into consideration. This is how more detailed analysis can be made.