Electronic surveillance at the workplace

The most intense electronic surveillance of employees is found in the service sector, particularly in the gambling, logistics, and call centre industries.

The knowledge that the employer is watching at all times can, in itself, inspire better performance and improve productivity without the need for unpleasant confrontations. An Overview Labor History 51 1: It continues to raise human rights issues. Improved Employee Performance AMA reports that 84 percent of employers surveyed who use surveillance systems said they inform employees that their computer use and email are being monitored.

Others have argued that it represents a return to an old-style technical control of work and that it has promoted a new wave of deskilling in the service sector.

The dangers of electronic surveillance in the workplace have been debated since the early s, when a multi-disciplinary report commissioned by the US Congress Office of Technology Assessment entitled The Electronic Supervisor: Because these industries have low union density, consistent opposition or resistance to surveillance is not widespread.

Drawing on published research, the following paragraphs outline the purpose, nature, extent, and effects of electronic surveillance on employees. Electronic surveillance at the workplace monitoring reveals that workers are shopping online or socializing on Facebook during work time, management can specifically restrict these practices through the use of software filters that block access to specific sites.

Further, if employees realize their actions and communications are surveilled, innovation may be reduced if they are worried about monitoring and judgement. Employee privacy can be compromised if employees do not authorise the disclosure of their information and it is broadcast to unknown third parties.

Electronic surveillance has wider implications relating to employee privacy, innovation, and resistance. While this may seem counterintuitive Electronic surveillance at the workplace those trying to catch employees misbehaving, it actually gives workers the chance to be more responsible and productive on the job.

They thus use it to manage cost, quality, and risk. Specific knowledge, gleaned through computer monitoring software, gives employers the ability to institute policies that focus on problem areas.

Thanks to high-tech forensics, even incriminating memos or emails that an employee has deleted from the office computer are recoverable for use as evidence of wrongdoing. Finally, excessive monitoring can sometimes produce the behaviours it was designed to prevent.

The Harms of Electronic Surveillance in the Workplace

Weckert, J ed Electronic Monitoring in the Workplace: Fully 48 percent of employers surveyed have placed video monitors in the workplace. Finally, electronic surveillance is closely allied to employment ethics as its results can influence the distributive justice of reward and it can circumvent the procedural justice of consultation processes.

Information on employee performance, behaviours, and personal characteristics is collected in real time for example, by monitoring email or telephone calls or as part of broader organizational processes for example, by drug testing during recruitment.

Ball February 20, Electronic surveillance refers to the use of computers and other technological devices to monitor, record, and track employee activities. Research finds that monitored tasks are deemed more valuable or critical than non-monitored ones, so employees will pay greater attention to those tasks and afford greater importance to the behaviours monitoring reinforces.

New Technologies, New Tensions examined its potentially harmful effects. Recent developments include the use of accelerometers in mobile phones to monitor cleaning staff, a facial recognition application from Microsoft that assesses employee mood, and enterprise-wide computer applications that compile the information staff post to social media applications for use by management.

Further reading Ball, K Workplace Surveillance: Businesses deploy electronic surveillance for three reasons: Unions publish voluntary codes of practice for their members, but electronic surveillance is rarely the subject of collective bargaining.

The current range of electronic surveillance techniques varies from computer and telephone logging, to drug testing, mystery shopping, closed circuit television, GPS tracking, and electronic recruitment.

Also, labor unions have the right to negotiate employee privacy issues with employers, according to the National Labor Relations Board ruling that surveillance is a topic subject to mandatory bargaining. The ubiquity of electronic surveillance makes it difficult to radicalize. Privacy concerns abound in the face of new, automated workplace surveillance technologies that focus on aspects of the human body, as well as those that disrupt the implicit and explicit boundaries between work and non-work life.

The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse organization says that while workplace monitoring "is virtually unregulated," some states, such as Connecticut, have established laws that restrict the ways in which businesses monitor their workers.

The internet is largely responsible for an increase in employee monitoring during the last ten years as organizations routinely monitor staff email and internet use. If employees perceive surveillance practices as an intensification and extension of control, it is likely that they will try to subvert and manipulate the boundaries of when, where, and how they are measured.

Wider ideological and ethical critiques are possible, too. A small percentage use global positioning systems to track company vehicles. Graham Sewell and James Barker have made progress into touching on this issue as they question the legitimacy of local surveillance regimes, using irony and by emphasizing how it becomes controversial in the micro-dynamics of everyday work life.

Enduring questions remain as to how the use of electronic surveillance is shaping the nature of work for future generations.

Lack of Widespread Regulation The lack of federal and consistent state regulation of workplace surveillance simplifies legal issues for employers who wish to keep an eye on their employees. Electronic surveillance is most stressful when it does not represent employee efforts accurately, employees cannot challenge its results, it is applied to inappropriate tasks which are difficult to measure and employees have no say in its onset.Electronic Surveillance in the Workplace Abstract: A consideration of some of the existing theoretical approaches for understanding surveillance in the workplace is provided with a particular emphasis on the qualitative changes in the nature of monitoring which occur when electronic means are utilized.

Avramidis said that electronic surveillance of employees can affect the relationship between an employer and an employee. "For the employee who is doing the right thing and focusing on work and using technology moderately for personal use, electronic surveillance will have no impact.

The Harms of Electronic Surveillance in the Workplace By: Kirstie S. Ball February 20, Electronic surveillance refers to the use of computers and other technological devices to monitor, record, and track employee activities.

Spotlights on the conflict between employees and employers over electronic surveillance and the workplace.

Stresses that between the help that advanced technology has aided firms and workers, has also come the feeling that employees’ rights of privacy have been invaded by employers’ constant monitoring.

Essay Title: Employers should conduct electronic surveillance of employees specifically during employee working hours.

The Advantages of Surveillance in the Workplace

Thesis Overview: Problem Statement: Electronic surveillance is a matter of concern for the employers and employees in the workplace%(11). According to a American Management Association Electronic Monitoring & Surveillance Survey, 45 percent of businesses monitor employee computer and phone use.

Fully 48 percent of employers surveyed have placed video monitors in the workplace.

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Electronic surveillance at the workplace
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