School of Information alumna Jennifer King, MIMS 2006, Ph.D. 2018, was honored by the iSchools organization for her doctoral dissertation, “Privacy, Disclosure, and Social Exchange Theory.”
The iSchools organization announced that Dr. King is the runner-up for the 2019 iSchools Doctoral Dissertation Award, which recognizes the best iSchool dissertations of the preceding year. Nominations are solicited from the almost 100 information schools in the iSchools organization.
King is the Director of Consumer Privacy at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School, where she specializes in information privacy, technology policy, social computing, and human-computer interaction. King identifies as a social technologist who uses social science and usability methods to research, analyze and solve technology problems.
King’s dissertation explores how social structures affect an individual’s decision to disclose information. In particular, she examines the relationship between individuals and companies that they disclose personal information to. The work takes a novel approach to the analysis of personal disclosure, particularly through the varied research methods, including qualitative interviews and online surveys.
The iSchools award committee wrote:
In the thesis Privacy, Disclosure, and Social Exchange Theory, the author uses Social Exchange Theory (SET) to explore reasons why individuals decide to disclose personal information to companies. The object of exchange implied by this approach draws on rather strong background assumptions like an objective givenness or unity of information as an object of study. Granted that individuals entertain relationships to companies it may indeed be worthwhile to analyze the impact of such relationships on the disclosure of private information in return for gratifications expected. The assumption about the applicability of SET to privacy issues is tested by empirical methods, i.e. qualitative interviews and three online surveys. The author provides clear descriptions of the methods and reasons for using each approach and also delivers a satisfying discussion of the theory.
I School Ph.D. graduates are not unfamiliar with this significant honor: in 2018 Galen Panger received the award, preceded by Ashwin Mathew in 2016, and Professor Joshua Blumenstock was runner up in 2012.