Efficacy of Online Monitoring of Employees in the Workplace

Cite this

Introduction

Employee monitoring is an ethical issue; hence, employers cannot engage in such an activity as they please. Nonetheless, due to wrongdoings that occur in an organization, the need for online monitoring is warranted, and some organizations have whistleblowers, instead. Negative employee demeanor is a common reason that makes employers monitor their employees due to the associated economic costs that can be avoided. In the contemporary computer age, the use of mobile devices and the Internet is entwined with the productivity of employees. Sequentially, employers are compelled to investigate their employees’ management of time within the workplace. On the downside, such online monitoring can have deleterious effects through employee dissatisfaction and burnout due to fear of expression. Thereby, to comprehend the efficacy of online monitoring, this paper introduces the attributing factors, the problem of this strategy in relation to employee performance, and recommends a holistic ethical approach during system installation.

On-Time Delivery!
Get your customized and 100% plagiarism-free paper done in as little as 3 hours
Let’s start
322 specialists online

Factors Leading to Online Monitoring of Employees

Demeanor is one of the reasons why employers will choose to monitor their employees to understand how they behave while in the workplace and devise ways of solving extant problems. Whereas online monitoring of personnel might be perceived to be intrusive, it is meant to improve the workplace environment and solve problems that might impede employee performance without being punitive or threatening staffs’ job security. Surveillance equipment used for online monitoring includes but is not limited to the Internet, global positioning systems, and closed-circuit television, which are purported to have more benefits for both employees and employers (Tomczak 251-252). Even though whistleblowing can be used as an alternative form of monitoring employees’ conduct, its sustainability is not guaranteed due to issues such as sickness and change of employment. Monitoring helps to understand the occurrences in a workplace; hence, helps to track cases of theft, harassment, and use of workspace (Wallace). Compared to the use of whistleblowers who can otherwise use their time to enhance organizational success, online monitoring is not labor-intensive and is modifiable to meet bosses’ needs.

Even though every company has a set of laws and policies that are meant to govern behavior, the Internet has altered people’s way of socializing, resulting in internet misuse and abuse. A study by Saraç and Çiftçioğlu (cited in Al Abbasi 12) shows that at least $50 billion is spent every year in lost productivity due to Internet misuse. Such loss prompts employers to engage in strategies aimed at minimizing the risks of failing to comply with a company’s policies and improving employee performance instead. Companies have strategies to guide internet use while in an organization and avoid visiting untrusted websites that might introduce viruses and compromise the company’s system. As a way to address cyberloafing, which is the use of mobile phones for personal use, the study by Abbasi (4) revealed enforcing technology use in monitoring employees as an important solution. The solution appeared in two themes implying that employees too perceived it positively in instilling discipline within the workplace.

Online monitoring of employees can be useful where company data can be used maliciously for the downfall of the firm. Leskin presents data that shows that malware, malicious third parties, and a weak system were the underlying factors for the exposure of around $2,190 billion of customer data. Such exposure is largely linked to trusted employees who abuse their privileges and results in the compromise of customers’ personal information together with the alteration of the firm’s daily processes. These insiders are able to hack the firm’s system and extract the information they need for their selfish gains; hence, in addition to traditional computer detection systems to secure an organization’s digital perimeter, the use of online monitoring devices becomes imperative. Nonetheless, the manner in which the monitoring is done is what raises concern to avoid violating the employees’ ethical right to privacy.

Online monitoring can be used as a strategy to instill positive behavior. More than $600 billion is lost each year to cyberloafing and theft, while another $60 million is lost to lawsuits due to sexual harassment, as indicated by Wallace. In such instances, the essence of online monitoring is justified as long as it occurs in places where such behavior is a menace to a friendly and peaceful working atmosphere. Health care organizations can greatly benefit from these systems when aiming to address the issue of hospital-acquired infections by monitoring how healthcare workers engage in infection control practices.

Employers use the surveillance data to fire, promote, and reward or punish their employees in other ways they deem fit. Counterproductive work behaviors can be easily captured on these online monitoring devices and form the basis for employers’ review of existing workplace policies (Tomczak et al. 252). These devices have advanced to the extent of monitoring employees’ health, and companies such as Walmart can help their employees maintain good health by introducing policies to promote good health. For example, introducing exercise time and giving staff time off in case of stress and burnout. Employers tend to suffer losses from employees’ negative behavior, and these online monitoring systems act as ideal platforms through which unnecessary operations costs can be mitigated.

Efficacy of Online Monitoring of Employees: Problems and Recommendations Associated with Online Monitoring of Employees

The efficacy of online monitoring of employees is a debatable topic due to the fact that there are two parties involved: the employers and the employees. While employers are guided by the philosophy of an organization, employees are mindful of their workplace space. It does not create comfort when an employee feels that their every move is being watched. On the contrary, it might create stress, eventually resulting in burnout. As a result, when striving to ensure that these online monitoring systems are effective, it is paramount to consider all the governing factors for optimal results. Companies should be guided by specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound (SMART) objectives through which they can target the issue of interest without dwelling on aspects that are not counterproductive to a firm’s success. The efficacy of these online monitoring systems is dependent on the views and attitudes of both employers and employees.

Yes, we can!
Our experts can deliver a custom Efficacy of Online Monitoring of Employees in the Workplace paper for only $13.00 $11/page
Learn More
322 specialists online

Employers engage in online monitoring of their employees to reduce costs and foster staff performance but simultaneously erode the trust between them and their staff. The constant monitoring creates a feeling of alertness that an employee is watchful of every move they make. As a result, they cannot freely express themselves, which has been shown to be a precedent factor for burnout. In the long run, the efficacy of online monitoring comes into question because while it aims to increase employee productivity, there is no guarantee that this would be achieved if these employees suffer from burnout and demotivation. On the contrary, a combined effect on decreased productivity is the result (Blackman). Thereby, this issue of online monitoring might instill the required discipline, but there is no surety that it increased the productivity it seeks to propagate.

It is essential for employers to embrace a holistic view in addressing the issue of online monitoring as one problem leads to the emergence of other shortfalls. A study by Jiang et al. shows that even though surveillance of employees in the workplace enhances information security, it thwarts commitment, satisfaction, and overall performance. The communication privacy management theory acknowledges the importance of demarcating boundaries for personal information to avoid turbulence, which results when these thresholds are exceeded. Interestingly, some scientific literature argues that some of the monitored workers perform better but are not explicit about mediating or moderating factors. Privacy, autonomy, and fairness are eminent issues that emerge from online monitoring of employees and become an issue when online monitoring is implemented without getting consent from employers. In the long-run, such action affects the relationship between employees and their employers, as illustrated by Palayoor and Mavoothu (1709-1710). Therefore, it is apparent that online monitoring of employees should be executed in a respectful manner. The aim is to avoid arousing disdain from employees and lack of cooperation due to a lack of organizational commitment and dissatisfaction with the workplace.

Online monitoring should have its limits because it is a vital space for the employees who spend most of their time here. A survey by the HR Metrics & Analytics Summit cited in Palayoor and Mavoothu (1710) indicated that monitoring every bit of activity and engagement of employees is not right. Even though there have been indications that employees will give consent to online monitoring, privacy always prevails as an issue that ends up taking a toll on their performance and general welfare (Jiang et al.). Since it is an ethical issue, online monitoring can be perceived from two perspectives: deontological and utilitarianism. The deontological perspective argues that ethical principles should be integrated during the installation of online monitoring systems. On the other hand, the utilitarian perspective focuses on the positive results presumed to be obtained from the implementation of the online monitoring system. Nonetheless, it is essential for employers to factor in both perspectives and involves employees to develop fair and acceptable online monitoring systems that do not necessarily infringe on their privacy.

Online monitoring can be implemented in a manner that propels both employers’ and employees’ concerns. While it is important to adopt all essential strategies to ensure that a company’s information system is secure, it is also important to ensure that employees can work freely. Workers do not have to be watchful of every move they make as it can introduce anxiety and subsequently affect productivity and performance, which the employers are trying to address. Kehinde and Okafor (328) along with Palayoor and Mavoothu (1711) advocate for collaboration between employers and employees to develop an ethical and acceptable way of installing online monitoring systems. Embracing an open-minded view while installing online monitoring devices in the workplace is important to meet all the needs of involved stakeholders.

Nonetheless, there are controversial results that show employees support the use of online monitoring devices. While Al Abbasi (98-99) recommends that online monitoring can yield positive outcomes in reference to commitment and performance, his study does not holistically examine the attitudes and perceptions of employees towards this technology. He goes on to recommend the use of cameras and tracking devices to ensure that both behavior and activities of employees are monitored. However, the fact that his study included individuals in managerial positions justifies the results because such individuals are inclined to a utilitarian perspective on online monitoring devices.

While employers install online monitoring devices in the workplace, the efficacy of these systems is subject to the law. It is not acceptable to dismiss an individual from work on the basis of unreasonable monitoring (Lockwood 208). Despite the fact that employers might have legal and justifiable reasons for implanting online monitoring technology, the fact that an employee feels threatened jeopardizes the entire work process. Even though they might comply with the monitoring demands, such companies tend to incur increased recruitment costs due to high rates of staff turnover (McParland and Connolly 548-550). Employers should comprehend the different laws governing online monitoring of employees in their various geographical regions and ensure their actions are not meant to exercise power and authority at the expense of the employees.

Conclusion

Online monitoring is implemented by employers with goals aimed at enhancing organizational success, but this is not guaranteed as employees develop different attitudes and perceptions. Instead of acknowledging the monitoring exercise as a security measure, they regard it as an infringement on their privacy and especially depending on the modality of online monitoring. Employers should embrace deontological and utilitarian views when installing online monitoring systems in the workplace because effective results are only stainable when there is collaboration and consensus among both employers and employees. Extant country laws should also be integrated for reference purposes to avoid unnecessary lawsuits.

Cut 15% OFF your first order
We’ll deliver a custom Human Resource Management paper tailored to your requirements with a good discount
Use discount
322 specialists online

Works Cited

Al Abbasi, Hawazin. “Organizational Information Security: Strategies to Minimize Workplace Cyberloafing for Increased Productivity.” 2018. Walden University. Doctoral dissertation.

Blackman, Reid. “How to Monitor Your Employees-While Respecting their Privacy.” Harvard Business Review, 2020, Web.

Jiang, Hemin, et al. “Examining the Side Effects of Organizational Internet Monitoring on Employees.” Internet Research, vol. 30, no. 6, 2020, pp. 1613-1630.

Kehinde, Oyedeji J., and Emeka Emmanuel Okafor. “The Use of Electronic Monitoring and War Performance of Employees in the Banking Industry in Ibadan, Southwest Nigeria.” African Journal of Business Management, vol. 13, no. 10, pp. 327-342.

Leskin, Paige. Biggest data breaches of 2018. Business Insider, Web.

Lockwood, Graeme. “Workplace Monitoring and Surveillance: The British Context.” Athens Journal of Law, vol. 4, no, 3, 205-228.

McParland, Cliona, and Regina Connolly. ENTRENOVA- ENTerprise REsearch InNOVAtion Conference, 2019, Croatia, IRENET.

Get a custom-written paper
For only $13.00 $11/page you can get a custom-written academic paper according to your instructions
Let us help you
322 specialists online

Palayoor, Alex J., and D Mavoothu. “Ethical Orientation: A Solution for Workplace Monitoring and Privacy Issues.” Seventeenth AIMS International Conference on Management, 2019, Web. 

Tomczak, David L., Lauren A. Lanzo, and Herman Aguinis. “Evidence-based Recommendations for Employee Performance Monitoring.” Business Horizons, vol. 61, 2018, pp. 251-259.

Wallace, Rodney D. “Electronic Surveillance of Nurses in the Workplace: Ethical Considerations” OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, vol. 23, no. 2, 2018.

Bibliography

Al Abbasi, Hawazin. “Organizational Information Security: Strategies to Minimize Workplace Cyberloafing for Increased Productivity.” 2018. Walden University. Doctoral dissertation.

Blackman, Reid. “How to Monitor Your Employees-While Respecting their Privacy.” Harvard Business Review, 2020, Web.

Jiang, Hemin, et al. “Examining the Side Effects of Organizational Internet Monitoring on Employees.” Internet Research, vol. 30, no. 6, 2020, pp. 1613-1630.

Kehinde, Oyedeji J., and Emeka Emmanuel Okafor. “The Use of Electronic Monitoring and War Performance of Employees in the Banking Industry in Ibadan, Southwest Nigeria.” African Journal of Business Management, vol. 13, no. 10, pp. 327-342.

Leskin, Paige. Biggest data breaches of 2018. Business Insider, Web.

Lockwood, Graeme. “Workplace Monitoring and Surveillance: The British Context.” Athens Journal of Law, vol. 4, no, 3, 205-228.

McParland, Cliona, and Regina Connolly. ENTRENOVA- ENTerprise REsearch InNOVAtion Conference, 2019, Croatia, IRENET.

Palayoor, Alex J., and D Mavoothu. “Ethical Orientation: A Solution for Workplace Monitoring and Privacy Issues.” Seventeenth AIMS International Conference on Management, 2019, Web.

Sharton, Brenda R., and Karen L. Neuman. “The Legal Risks of Monitoring Employees Online.” Harvard Business Review, 2017, Web.

Stubben, Stephen R. Evidence on the Use and Efficacy of Internal Whistleblowing Systems. 2019. George Washington University.

Tomczak, David L., Lauren A. Lanzo, and Herman Aguinis. “Evidence-based Recommendations for Employee Performance Monitoring.” Business Horizons, vol. 61, 2018, pp. 251-259.

Wallace, Rodney D. “Electronic Surveillance of Nurses in the Workplace: Ethical Considerations” OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, vol. 23, no. 2, 2018.

Cite this paper

Select style

Reference

BusinessEssay. (2022, February 7). Efficacy of Online Monitoring of Employees in the Workplace. Retrieved from https://business-essay.com/efficacy-of-online-monitoring-of-employees-in-the-workplace/

Reference

BusinessEssay. (2022, February 7). Efficacy of Online Monitoring of Employees in the Workplace. https://business-essay.com/efficacy-of-online-monitoring-of-employees-in-the-workplace/

Work Cited

"Efficacy of Online Monitoring of Employees in the Workplace." BusinessEssay, 7 Feb. 2022, business-essay.com/efficacy-of-online-monitoring-of-employees-in-the-workplace/.

References

BusinessEssay. (2022) 'Efficacy of Online Monitoring of Employees in the Workplace'. 7 February.

References

BusinessEssay. 2022. "Efficacy of Online Monitoring of Employees in the Workplace." February 7, 2022. https://business-essay.com/efficacy-of-online-monitoring-of-employees-in-the-workplace/.

1. BusinessEssay. "Efficacy of Online Monitoring of Employees in the Workplace." February 7, 2022. https://business-essay.com/efficacy-of-online-monitoring-of-employees-in-the-workplace/.


Bibliography


BusinessEssay. "Efficacy of Online Monitoring of Employees in the Workplace." February 7, 2022. https://business-essay.com/efficacy-of-online-monitoring-of-employees-in-the-workplace/.