Comparing software piracy in South Africa and Zambia using social cognitive theory

  • Andrew Thatcher University of the Witwatersrand
  • Mary Matthews University of the Witwatersrand


This study examines cross-national differences in relation to software piracy between a Zambian and a South Africa student sample on components of Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory. The sample was selected based on the vastly different software piracy rates between Zambia (82%) and South Africa (35%) and the fact that software piracy rates are higher amongst student groups. The questionnaire was composed of previously developed scales measuring attitudes, social norms, intentions, incen- tives, deterrents, self-efficacy, and moral disengagement within the context of software piracy. The sample was gathered from one University in Zambia (N = 69) and one in South Africa (N = 71) in the students’ final and penultimate years of study. Statistical differences were found between the two samples on the attitudes and social norms scales, with the South African sample having more posi- tive attitudes and more favourable social norms towards software piracy than the Zambian sample. In terms of the theoretical model, attitudes, social norms and self-efficacy predicted software piracy intentions in both samples. 


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