Prof. Dr. Simon Trang, Assistant Professor, University of Göttingen: “The technology-behavior compensation effect: How beneficial and actively used technologies can counteract their societal goals”
In search of solutions to societal health challenges, policymakers are increasingly turning to innovative apps as complements to existing non-technological interventions. Such apps developed for supporting users’ health are designed with the premise of being seen as beneficial and actively used. However, based on risk homeostasis theory, we theorize that these two classical design goals for effective information systems (IS) unintentionally foster risk compensation and lead to the neglection of other non-technical preventive health behaviors. Evidence from a multi-wave study regarding COVID-19 contact tracing apps confirms the existence of what we call the technology-risk compensation effect: those individuals who perceived the app to be highly beneficial or actively use it in return reduce other preventive health behaviors such as social distancing after app adoption. This technology-risk compensation effect implicates a hitherto overlooked tension between two established IS design goals and the successful exploitation of technology to support users’ health. We expand the established perspectives on dark sides of IS use by revealing a previously neglected type of unintended consequences and draw attention to the implications of this finding for research well beyond the health context.
Prof. Dr. Simon Trang holds the Chair for Information Security and Compliance (‘Juniorprofessur’) at the University of Göttingen. The focus of his work concerns the analysis and effective design of information security measures in companies and for a resilient society. He approaches the topic from a socio-technical perspective, in which information systems and information security are not understood as ends in themselves, but always in the interplay of technology, processes and actors. This includes the study of user behavior and psychology, technical, legal as well as strategic aspects. Prof. Trang and his team have received various grants from renowned public institutions such as the BMBF, the BMWK, the BMG and the Volkswagen Foundation. His work has been published in journals such as the Journal of the Association for Information Systems, the European Journal of Information Systems, and Information Systems Frontiers, among others.