Journal of Management Information Systems

Volume 38 Number 3 2021 pp. 704-731

Detecting Noncompliant Behavior in Organizations: How Online Survey Responses and Behaviors Reveal Risk

Jenkins, Jeffrey L, Valacich, Joseph S, Zimbelman, Aaron F, and Zimbelman, Mark F


Ensuring organizational regulatory and legal compliance is a challenging, high-stakes management task. Overlooking or underestimating noncompliance in organizations can result in substantial fines, damage to a company’s reputation, and, ultimately, loss of business. To help alleviate this risk, we explore whether organizations can assess noncompliance by monitoring users’ answers and related mouse cursor movements in an intelligent online questionnaire. Namely, we propose that noncompliant (compared with compliant) individuals will experience more cognitive dissonance on questions about (1) what constitutes noncompliance behavior and (2) what consequences for noncompliance are appropriate. We predict that increased cognitive dissonance in noncompliant individuals will influence their questionnaire responses—as well as their mouse cursor movements—when answering these questions. We collect data to test our hypotheses in a study from individuals who voluntarily chose to cheat on an online task for monetary gain. The results suggest that the responses to these two groups of questions, along with the associated mouse cursor movement, can work together as a low-cost, scalable tool to help assess noncompliance risk. This paper contributes to theory by explaining how people who are noncompliant tend to provide more lenient answers to questions about what constitutes compliance and the consequences of noncompliance. In addition, we show how mouse-cursor deviation provides theoretical insight into the level of cognitive dissonance that users experience, and that users who are noncompliant show greater deviation on compliance and consequence questions.