Advertisement

Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 43, Issue 4, pp 353–361 | Cite as

Some Problems with Employee Monitoring

  • Kirsten Martin
  • R. Edward Freeman
Article

Abstract

Employee monitoring has raised concerns from all areas of society – business organizations, employee interest groups, privacy advocates, civil libertarians, lawyers, professional ethicists, and every combination possible. Each advocate has its own rationale for or against employee monitoring whether it be economic, legal, or ethical. However, no matter what the form of reasoning, seven key arguments emerge from the pool of analysis. These arguments have been used equally from all sides of the debate. The purpose of this paper is to examine the seven key arguments that have been made with respect to employee monitoring. None of these arguments is conclusive and each calls for managerial and moral consideration. We conclude that a more comprehensive inquiry with ethical concern at the center is necessary to make further progress on understanding the complexity of employee monitoring. The final section of this paper sketches out how such an inquiry would proceed.

business employee monitoring ethics monitoring privacy technology 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. short2001.pdf.Google Scholar
  2. Agre, Philip E. and Christine A Mailloux: 1997, ‘Social Choice About Privacy: Intelligent Vehicle-highway systems in the United States’, in Friedman, Batya (ed.), Human Values and the Design 360 Kirsten Martin and R. Edward Freeman of Computer Technology (CSLI Publications and Cambridge University Press, Stanford, CA).Google Scholar
  3. Brown, Willian S.: 2000, ‘Ontological Security, Existential Anxiety, and Workplace Privacy’, Journal of Business Ethics (January).Google Scholar
  4. Conry-Murray, Andrew: 2001, ‘Special Report-The Pros and Cons of Employee Surveillance’ (2001), Network Magazine. February 5, 2001, http://www.networkmagazine.com/article/ NMG20010125S0011.Google Scholar
  5. Donaldson, Thomas: 2001, ‘Ethics in Cyberspace: Have We Seen this Movie Before?’ Business and Society Review 106(4), 273–291.Google Scholar
  6. “Employee Monitoring: Is there privacy in the workplace: 2001, http://www.privacyrights.org/ FS/fs7-work.htm (Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, San Diego).Google Scholar
  7. Foucault, M.: 1979, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of Prisons (Vintage Books, New York), as quoted in Brown, William S.: 2000, ‘Ontological Security, Existential Anxiety, and Workplace Privacy’, Journal of Business Ethics (January).Google Scholar
  8. Gilman, Andrew: 1999, ‘Managing the Trend Toward Increasing Use of Electronic Monitoring Tools’, http://www.ema.org/restricted/magazine/mmv5n3/ managing.htm.Google Scholar
  9. Hartman, Laura Pincus: 1998, ‘The Rights and Wrongs of Workplace Snooping’, Journal of Business Strategy 19(3) (May-June), 16(4).Google Scholar
  10. Johnson, Deborah G.: 2000, ‘Is the Global Information Infrastructure a Democratic Technology?” in Richard A. Spinello and Herman T. Tavani (ed.) (2001), Readings in CyberEthics (Jones and Bartlett Publishers, Inc., MA).Google Scholar
  11. Johnson, Deborah.: 2001, Computer Ethics (Prentice-Hall, Inc., New Jersey).Google Scholar
  12. Moor, James H.: 1997, ‘Towards a Theory of Privacy for the Information Age’, in Richard A. Spinello and Herman T. Tavani (ed.) (2001), Readings in CyberEthics (Jones and Bartlett Publishers, Inc., MA).Google Scholar
  13. Piazza, Peter: 2002, ‘More Companies Monitoring Computer Use’, Security Management 46 (January).Google Scholar
  14. Reiman, J. H.: 1995, ‘Driving to the Panopticon: A Philosophical Exploration of the Risks to Privacy Posed by the Highway Technology of the Future’, Computer and High Technology Law Journal 11.Google Scholar
  15. Schulman, Andrew: 2001, ‘The Extent of Systematic Monitoring of Employee E-mail and Internet Use’, Privacy Foundation. July 9, 2001, http://www.privacyfoundation.com.Google Scholar
  16. Swanson, Sandra: 2001, ‘Beware: Employee Monitoring is on the Rise’, Information Week, August 2001, http://www.informationweek.com/ story/IWK20010816S0010.Google Scholar
  17. WebSense: 2001, by NetPartner: http://www.websense. com/products/why/stats.cfm.Google Scholar
  18. Winner, Langdon: 1986, ‘Do Artifacts have Politics?’ The Whale and the Reactor (Chicago).Google Scholar
  19. Zuboff, Shoshana: 1988, In the Age of the Smart Machine (Basic Books, Inc., New York).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kirsten Martin
    • 1
  • R. Edward Freeman
    • 2
  1. 1.CharlottesvilleU.S.A.
  2. 2.The Darden SchoolUniversity of VirginiaU.S.A

Personalised recommendations