Computer-Based Performance Monitoring and Productivity in a Multiple Task Environment


Computer-based performance monitoring (CPM) provides managers with the ability to continuously, and unobtrusively, monitor the work performed by their employees. This paper examines the impact that CPM has on productivity when people are monitored on only a portion of the work that they perform. In a simulated work setting, subjects worked on two computerized tasks, and were led to believe that their work on one, both, or none of the tasks would be electronically monitored. People who were monitored only on a relatively simple task tended to work at a faster rate on both their monitored and non-monitored tasks, in comparison to people who were not monitored at all. People who were monitored only on a task that was more moderate in level of difficulty did not work any faster or more accurately than people who were not monitored. The results of the current study suggests that under certain conditions, employees may not discriminate between monitored and non-monitored work. Recommendations are offered to managers who are considering implementing CPM in their workplace.

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Correspondence to Kathryn J. Kolb.

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Kolb, K.J., Aiello, J.R. Computer-Based Performance Monitoring and Productivity in a Multiple Task Environment. Journal of Business and Psychology 12, 189–204 (1997).

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  • Social Psychology
  • Fast Rate
  • Social Issue
  • Simple Task
  • Work Setting