A Model of Social Eavesdropping in Communication Networks

LEILA BIGHASH, KRISTEN S. ALEXANDER, CHRISTINA S. HAGEN, ANDREA B. HOLLINGSHEAD

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Social eavesdropping is the gathering of information from the interactions of 2 or more people, without their expressed knowledge or expressed permission, by a third party who is ostensibly not the target audience. Grounded in uncertainty management, communication networks, and signaling theories, this article presents a theoretical framework for understanding when and how individuals are likely to eavesdrop on the interactions of others. Social eavesdropping can be actively premeditated or passively incidental, the latter spurred by a serendipitous encounter. Propositions derived from the model investigate how accessibility, information value, and social risk influence the likelihood of social eavesdropping.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3704-3726
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Communication
Volume14
StatePublished - 2020

Keywords

  • communication networks
  • information gathering
  • organizational communication
  • privacy
  • surveillance
  • uncertainty management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication

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