doctoral defense

Mazaher Kianpour has defended his thesis «Cybersecurity Economics: A Multi-paradigmatic Inquiry into Theory and Practice».  

The public defense took place on Monday, November 21st. The doctoral work has been carried out at the Department of Information Security and Communication Technology, NTNU Gjøvik. 

His main supervisor has been Professor Harald Øverby, Norwegian Business School, and his co-supervisor has been Professor Stewart James Kowalski, IIK. 

Assessment committee 

1. Opponent: Associate Professor Alessandro Fedele, Faculty of Economics and Management, Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Italy 

2. Opponent: Senior Researcher Ulrik Franke, RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, Sweden 

Internal member and administrator: Associate Professor Iwona Windekilde, Department of Information Security and Communication Technology, NTNU, Trondheim, Norway  


After the identification of theoretical and practical challenges in the field of cybersecurity economics, this research project explores and advocates multi-paradigmatic approaches to tackle the theoretical challenges in cybersecurity economics research. We argue that these approaches provide appealing theoretical and practical frameworks to understand and interpret known and unknown cybersecurity problems. Regarding the practical challenges, however, this thesis supports the notion of cybersecurity as a public good. Although this notion has been proposed repeatedly by scholars, it has not been substantiated by qualitative and quantitative analysis and studies. Therefore, in this thesis, we take up the challenge of employing a range of paradigms including functionalism, constructivism, and critical realism within one research investigation: cybersecurity as a public good. This thesis outlines a research project in which several studies were conducted to investigate this topic from the perspectives of individuals, groups, and institutions. Results were obtained through using theories and methods from multiple paradigms as the basis for research. In seven research papers, details of the studies are given, research findings are presented, and the validity of the methods is discussed.  

Following a transdisciplinary research strategy that supports the co-creation of knowledge by participatory inclusion of scientific and societal actors, this research project suggests gamification and policy games to re-integrate knowledge and provide an essential context for understanding some of the most important, complex, and difficult issues both scientific and societal actors face. We proposed a socio-technical framework to design and develop serious games and developed and evaluated an instantiation of this framework. The evaluation results show a promising outlook on how gamification can be effectively used for promoting secure and sustainable behavior in digital ecosystems.