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The Power of Discretion in IS Security



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Journal of Information Systems Security
Volume 6, Number 2 (2010)
Pages 329
ISSN 1551-0123 (Print)
ISSN 1551-0808 (Online)
Spyridon Samonas — London School of Economics and Political Science, United Kingdom
Ian O. Angell — London School of Economics and Political Science, United Kingdom
Information Institute Publishing, Washington DC, USA




This paper emphasizes the central role of discretion in organizations, and its importance for understanding Information Systems (IS) security. By way of an introduction to the relevant research field of power and IS security, a brief overview of the literature on power, IS and security is presented. We then embark on developing a theoretical framework for the study of discretion, by analyzing the conceptual interrelationship between power, trust and discretion in the context of IS security. In doing so, we introduce a distinction between 'active' and 'passive' discretion, which is based on how much formal rules eventually influence the use of discretion. The paper concludes with a discussion on the implications that the terms power, trust and discretion have for IS security.




Power, Trust, Discretion, Bureaucracy, Information Systems Security, Systemic Integrity, Borromean Rings




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