Social Bond Theory

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Alternate name(s)

Social Control Theory

Main dependent construct(s)/factor(s)

Urge to indulge in antisocial or anti-establishment or deviant behaviors

Main independent construct(s)/factor(s)

Attachment, involvement, commitment and personal norms

Concise description of theory

SBT is basically a theory from criminology literature proposed by Hirschi in 1969. SBT describes the social ties an individual has with his group. It says that though a person is naturally inclined towards crime, people with stronger social ties are less interested to indulge in any antisocial or deviant behavior. Four different types of social bonds were defined by Hirschi that ensure socialization i.e. attachment, commitment, involvement and personal norms. Attachment refers to a person’s interest in his/ her social surroundings. Commitment refers to a person’s subjective notion and commitment towards socially accepted goals. Involvement deals with individual’s dealing with conventional activities like family, work, social gatherings. Finally individual with strong personal norms and value systems are less likely to engage in any deviant behavior. In IS literature this theory is mostly used to IS Security literature to understand employee's deviant behavior.

Diagram/schematic of theory


Originating author(s)

Travis Warner Hirschi(1969)

Seminal articles

Originating area


Level of analysis


Links from this theory to other theories

Social learning theory

IS articles that use the theory

Theoharidou, M., Kokolakis, S., Karyda, M., & Kiountouzis, E. (2005). The insider threat to information systems and the effectiveness of ISO17799. Computers & Security, 24(6), 472-484.

Cheng, L., Li, Y., Li, W., Holm, E., & Zhai, Q. (2013). Understanding the violation of IS security policy in organizations: An integrated model based on social control and deterrence theory. Computers & Security, 39, 447-459.

Ifinedo, P. (2014). Information systems security policy compliance: An empirical study of the effects of socialisation, influence, and cognition. Information & Management, 51(1), 69-79

Safa, N. S., Von Solms, R., & Furnell, S. (2016). Information security policy compliance model in organizations. computers & security, 56, 70-82.


Monalisa Mahapatra

Date last updated

28th February 2017