A self-efficacy informed approach to anonymously locating digital disruptors

James F. Popham


Young, politically motivated, and technologically savvy individuals have been instrumental in bringing about social change through the first decades of the twenty-first century. These tech-savvy “disruptors” anonymously champion counter-hegemonic discourse and ideology by manipulating networked forms of communication. The shielding effects of these anonymous interactions also pose significant challenges for the observation and study of disruptors. The current study proposes that elements of the theory of self-efficacy, particularly mastery experiences, can be leveraged to anonymously locate disruptors from a generalized sample based on their. It employs an adapted version of the Computer Self-Efficacy Scale with a large non-random sample to test this hypothesis. Principal component analysis of the scale identifies three components in the scale — “simple,” “moderate,” and “difficult” task efficacy — that account for a majority of the variation in the sample. Components are then compared with other measures of technological skill and internet usage characteristics to better confirm the scale’s effectiveness in locating disruptors.


Digital disruptor; self-efficacy; digital research methodologies; principal component analysis

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v23i8.8046

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