Date of Award

Spring 5-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Engineering Management & Systems Engineering


Engineering Management and Systems Engineering

Committee Director

C. Ariel Pinto

Committee Member

Holly Handley

Committee Member

Chunsheng Xin


The scope of this study is the systemic risk of the role of humans in the risk of phishing. The relevance to engineering managers and systems engineers of the risks of phishing attacks is the theft of data which has significantly increased in the past couple of years. Phishing has become a systemic persistent threat to all internet users. Understanding the role of humans in phishing from a systemic perspective is a critical objective towards creating a strong defense against complex and manipulative phishing attacks. The systemic view of phishing concentrates on how phishing affects the entire organizational system, not just parts or individual components of a system. This study will address the systemic view of phishing which puts focus on how the entire organizational system performs and the purposeful tasks and goals to minimize phishing. This study will use a grounded theory approach to the following questions. First, how can the interaction between the human and the phishing lure be adjusted to mitigate the risk of phishing (i.e., from a systemic perspective)? Second, how can developing a systematic method help in mitigating the risk of phishing by reducing the likelihood of a successful attack? With the advanced persistent threat of phishing, this study anticipates assisting organizations in measuring how proficiently they are presently handling the risk of phishing and to suggest how the organizations can increase their proficiency and mitigate the risk of phishing.


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