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Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 39–49 | Cite as

Surveillance in Employment: The Case of Teleworking

  • N. Ben Fairweather
Article

Abstract

This paper looks at various ways teleworking can be linked to surveillance in employment, making recommendations about how telework can be made more acceptable. Technological methods can allow managers to monitor the actions of teleworkers as closely as they could monitor "on site" workers, and in more detail than the same managers could traditionally. Such technological methods of surveillance or monitoring have been associated with low employee morale. For an employer to ensure health and safety may require inspections of the teleworkplace. When the teleworkplace is in the home, there may be an invasion of privacy associated with such inspections, that could be perceived and resented as surveillance. A problem of telework is that teleworkers may feel isolated. Methods to counter this could be associated with further forms of surveillance, and fear of such surveillance may inhibit them from reaching their potential as methods to counter isolation. The idea that teleworking may also allow communications to be intercepted by third parties is also looked at. Some, but not all, of the issues considered are applicable, to some extent, in non-teleworked employment situations. The overall conclusion of the paper is that the potential exists for surveillance to be associated with telework. Fears of such surveillance may turn actors against telework. However, much can be done to reduce such fears.

Computer Based Performance Monitoring Electronic Performance Monitoring employment health and safety home workers interception of communications monitoring surveillance telecommuting telework 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. Ben Fairweather
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Computing and Social Responsibility, Faculty of Computing Sciences and EngineeringDe Montfort UniversityLeicesterU.K

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