The Enabling Role of Internal Organizational Communication in Insider Threat Activity – Evidence from a High Security Organization

Charis Rice, Rosalind Searle

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    1 Citation (Scopus)
    13 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    This paper explores the role of internal communication in one under-researched form of organizational crisis, insider threat – threat to an organization, its people or resources, from those who have legitimate access. In this case study, we examine a high security organization, drawing from in-depth interviews with management and employees concerning the organizational context and a real-life incident of insider threat. We identify the importance of three communication flows (top-down, bottom-up, and lateral) in explaining, and in this case, enabling, insider threat. Derived from this analysis, we draw implications for communication and security scholars, as well as practitioners, concerning: the impact of unintentional communication, the consequences of selective silence and the divergence in levels of shared understanding of security among different groups within an organization.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)467-495
    Number of pages29
    JournalManagement Communication Quarterly
    Volume36
    Issue number3
    Early online date14 Jan 2022
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022

    Bibliographical note

    This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).

    Keywords

    • crisis and risk management
    • employee misconduct
    • interpretive case study
    • organizational communication

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