How The Growth Of Electronic Monitoring Has Changed Employee Expectations Of Privacy In The Workplace

1294 words - 5 pages

The use of the internet for personal pursuits in the workplace has seen phenomenal growth over the last quarter century. Along with this growth, employers and employees alike have used the internet as a tool to increase profit, manage time and facilitate communications. However, such technological advancement has its issues. The problem investigated is how the growth of electronic monitoring has changed employee expectations of privacy in the workplace.
Should employees be able to use the internet for personal items while working?
Does the employee’s ability to do so ultimately save the employer time and money?
The answer to whether employees should use the internet for personal pursuits while working is both a yes and a no. The devil is in the details of the employer’s policies. A small business can monitor computer stations easily and may be more lax in this behavior as the intimacy of the office promotes a relational interaction. However, a large corporation may not have personal relationships with each of its employees and therefore may be unable to gauge potential abuse of time and resources of an employee who views themselves but a cog in the corporate machine and potentially invisible. Regardless, an employer may save time and money by showing flexibility of internet usage for personal tasks during say, a lunch break. This would minimize employee stress and limit employee time off to engage in such tasks. (Anandarajan, Simmers, & Igbaria, 2000)
How does secret or electronic monitoring differ from a manager’s decision to, without notice, walk around an office to observe behavior and work?
Secret Monitoring elicits images of Orson Welles Big Brother, a militant force devoid of empathy to the needs and desires of the masses. Secret monitoring lacks the human exchange of input and ideas to modify behavior. In addition, it stifles an employee’s innate willingness to perform tasks at high standards based on mutual respect and trust. An employee observed on the sly potentially diminishes his perspective of his value and role to the company. In contrast, a manager making rounds unannounced to observe employee behavior has an opportunity to exchange meaningful feedback in real-time. He can utilize management techniques designed to limit attrition attributed to ignorance, lacking job training or simply the magic of human interaction. (Phillips, 2008)
Does privacy apply to Law Enforcement? What about warrants for emails?
Law enforcement of internet usage ensures everyone plays according to the rules in the corporate sandbox. Therefore, privacy rights may not be applicable. Some of these rules, if violated, may cause great harm to a corporation, such as copyright infringement on intellectual property, and/or the viewing of unacceptable images leading to sexual harassment suits. Internally at a corporation, it can mandate oversight of usage to protect itself from such misuse and can state the practice thereof. For...

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