A social identity perspective on the management of confidential information in organisational contexts

Singh, Kiran (2017). A social identity perspective on the management of confidential information in organisational contexts MPhil Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland. doi:10.14264/uql.2017.792

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Author Singh, Kiran
Thesis Title A social identity perspective on the management of confidential information in organisational contexts
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
DOI 10.14264/uql.2017.792
Publication date 2017-06-02
Thesis type MPhil Thesis
Supervisor Alex Haslam
Nik Steffens
Language eng
Subjects 170107 Industrial and Organisational Psychology
170113 Social and Community Psychology
Formatted abstract
No organisation or profession can succeed without confidentiality. There can be no healthcare, legal representation, research, journalism or even nations without confidentiality and the trust that underpins it. Yet despite the critical role confidentiality plays in all these professions, managing confidentiality is recognised as an increasingly difficult challenge in the modern world. For this reason, gaining an understanding of the psychological processes that feed into the management of confidential information is more vital than ever. To date, it is clear that psychologists have paid little attention to the group processes that are implicated in people’s willingness to preserve, or else violate, confidentiality. Relatedly, it is apparent that there is little investigation of whether, and to what extent the exchange of confidential information is implicated in people’s development of a shared identity. This suggests that the social dimensions of confidentiality demand empirical examination — particularly as these relate to the expression and development of shared social identity. This is the goal of this thesis. First, it seeks to provide a conceptual analysis of how and why issues of social identity are both a product of, and a precursor to, understanding confidentiality in the workplace. Second, it presents two studies that support this conceptual analysis. Study 1 shows social identity impacts individuals’ management of confidential information; Study 2 shows how the act of sharing confidential information can serve to build a sense of shared social identity. A key conclusion here is that while confidentiality discourse has predominantly taken an individual focus that implicates personal skills or traits as the basis for preserving or breaching confidentiality, I argue that there is a need to also consider the ways in which group dynamics (and the associated identity-related processes) dictate the way confidential information is perceived and acted upon. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed, as well as future directions for the field.
Keyword Social identity

Document type: Thesis
Collections: UQ Theses (RHD) - Official
UQ Theses (RHD) - Open Access
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Created: Tue, 16 May 2017, 17:40:55 EST by Kiran Singh on behalf of Learning and Research Services (UQ Library)