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Employee Monitoring at work - Essay Example

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Summary
Electronic Monitoring. The computerized collection, storage, analysis, and reporting of information about employees' productive activities (Office of Technology Assessment, 1987 as cited in Mishra and Crampton, 1998).
Computer Monitoring. There are several types of computer monitoring systems…
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Employee Monitoring at work
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Electronic Monitoring. The computerized collection, storage, analysis, and reporting of information about employees' productive activities (Office of Technology Assessment, 1987 as cited in Mishra and Crampton, 1998).
Computer Monitoring. There are several types of computer monitoring systems. For instance, computer software can check employee performance accuracy and keystroke speed, particularly for those involved in word processing and data entry jobs. With the use of a video display terminal (VDT), employers can monitor the number of mistakes per hour, stroke rate for each job, the number of jobs, the accuracy of what is being typed, and the speed of employee transactions (Danaan, 1990 as cited in Mishra and Crampton, 1998).
Video Surveillance. Employers use video surveillance to monitor their employees' behaviors. Some cameras are placed in open and noticeable areas, while others may be installed secretly so employees do not know they are present.
Teams of Investigators Posing as Friends. The hiring of "employees" to monitor the activities of other employees.
Undercover Operatives. Undercover operatives, often co-workers, are used to gather information about employees such as their life-styles.
Spying. The art of spying is done when management, or someone assigned by management, secretly observes other workers or managers. The parties under investigation usually do not know what is going on.
Eavesdropping/Wiretapping. The number, frequency, destination, and length of calls are recorded (Losey, 1994 as cited in Mishra and Crampton, 1998).
Electronic Mail (e-mail) and Voice Mail Monitoring. Many employers monitor employees' e-mail and voice mail. E-mail provides options to employers to ask for "Receipt Request," "Priority Category" to see when employees use email, whether employees received the message, etc.
Active Badge. An active badge is a credit card sized badge that an employee wears on the outside of his or her clothing so movement can be monitored in a building using his or her unique ID.
Employers use many kinds of employee monitoring systems. They include electronic monitoring, computer monitoring, video surveillance, teams of investigators posing as friends, undercover operatives, spying, eavesdropping/wiretapping, electronic mail and voice mail monitoring, and active badge.
Employee monitoring has both advantages and disadvantages for both employers and employees.
The advantages to employees is objectivity, consistency, and accuracy in performance appraisal, feedback on work performance with the aim of improving work methods, and geographical and time flexibility by facilitating telecommunication and
"flexitime" systems.
To the employees, the disadvantages are privacy invasion, discouragement of high quality work with the emphasis on speed and other quantitative measurements, and work stress resulting in health issues.
To the employers, employee monitoring is an efficient management tool to manage organizations, accurately and objectively collect data on employee's performance, ensure excellent customer service, increase employee productivity, protect themselves from theft, increase safety, and protect themselves against lawsuits.
These advantages are offset by disadvantages including rising compensation claims and medical costs because of stress-related illnesses, lower morale, lower productivity and quality due to adverse working conditions, labor turnover and absenteeism, and performance evaluation that focuses only on quantity instead of quality.
It is generally legitimate under the US laws to monitor employees if monitoring occurs during the ordinary course of business or with the employee's implied consent. Moreover, common laws generally favor employers. There is thus little protection for employees.
Mishra and Crampton (1998) offer a few guidelines for monitoring. Employers should notify employees that they may be monitored. There are also specific guidelines for each type of monitoring system.
References
Mishra, J.M., & Crampton, S.M. (1998). Employee monitoring: privacy in the workplace S.A.M. Advanced Management Journal, 63(3), 4-14. Read More
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