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The ethics of electronic monitoring within the workplace.

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posted on 05.10.2005, 09:28 by Tom JacksonTom Jackson, Nilpa Shah, Ray DawsonRay Dawson, Darren Wilson
This paper shows that electronic monitoring of employees’ use of e-mail and the World Wide Web can be beneficial to a company and even to its employees. However, the use of monitoring and the resulting intrusion into personal privacy can also have adverse affects. Ideally, monitoring should only be used to increase the efficiency of the organisation. This would lead to a far-relaxed attitude to be monitored within the work place. It is difficult for companies to obtain the right balance between private and work-related Internet use. A solution to this problem is to contract an independent outside party to undertake the monitoring process. This paper suggests guidelines for establishing an agreed electronic monitoring policy which should enable increased productivity from better use of electronic facilities yet still be acceptable to employees. The greater acceptability of independent monitoring and the more relaxed atmosphere of a not too restrictive policy on email and Internet use will increase the overall company morale which, in turn, will produce a happier, more productive environment that will benefit both employees and managers alike.



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Jackson, T., Shah, N., Dawson, R. and Wilson, D., 2001. The ethics of electronic monitoring within the workplace. In: Dawson, R., King, G., Ross, M., and Staples, G. (eds), Pathways to Quality. Loughborough University, UK, Software Quality Management IX , Loughborough University, UK, April 2001, pp 125-137.


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