Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science Honours


Faculty of Science, Technology and Engineering

First Advisor

Cliff Smith


The discipline of security lacks formal conceptual tools which can be used by security managers, advisers and consultants when attempting to provide effective security. This is because of security's relative age as a discipline, it is very new. The aim of the thesis was to contribute to the security discipline by taking Underwood's ( 1989) idea of security decay and to a certain extent exploring and formalising it. The security decay theory is primarily concerned with the influence apathy has on security and how management react to risk materialisation when decay is evident. The thesis focused on the first of these two components only. In focusing on the influence apathy has on security, a number of Likert tests were administered to a stratified sample of both security specialists and non- security people. The security specialist sample provided good indications that effective security will be provided when a synergy of functions and elements are implemented. This sample also believed that apathetic attitudes towards security would cause the effectiveness of security to decrease. The results derived from the non - security sample were inconclusive, with no determinations to be made. This sample were unsure as to whether or not effective security was achievable, whether effective security would cause a lack of security incidence and whether a lack of security incidence would result in apathy towards security. The results achieved are only representative of the attitudes of the respondents from within the sample. The two tests that derived conclusive results can not be generalised across the whole security specialist population. This was the major limitation of the thesis. The recommendations resulting from the study include the need to further research the security decay theory in a longitudinal study, as well as researching the section of the theory which was excluded in this thesis. The implications for security specialists are that they need to have an awareness of the ramifications of having effective security. Also, the fact that the non - security sample were generally unsure about all sub-concepts put to them highlights the need for efficient and effective awareness and education programs.