Computer Monitoring is most often intended to improve efficiency andeffectiveness in the workplace, but with good intentions comes the opportunityfor abuse by employers and employees alike. An example of both can be found inan article taken from The Futurist. Kristen Bell De Tienne’s composition “Big Brother or Friendly Giant: Computer Monitoring in the 21st Century” isan exceptional observation as to what the future may hold for those peoplechoosing to enter the technological field such as industry, commerce, medicineand science. As Computer Monitoring increases there comes a concern for thetypes of effects it may have in the workplace. According to DeTienne, “Bythe end of the decade, as many as 30 million people may constantly be monitoredin their jobs” (462).Order now
As computer systems become more sophisticated thisnumber will drastically increase. As we enter this new age of technology we mustremember that with more power comes more responsibility by employers andemployees alike. Micheal J. Smith, a professor at the University ofWisconsin-Madison explains that knowledge can be used as a weapon or as a tool (DeTienne462). For instance monitoring abuse can be found in the in the situation ofairline agents. The agents discovered that by keeping customers on hold whilefinishing their work they could gain an extra 5-minute break (De Tienne 462).
Inthe future these evasions of work will be stopped and for this reason”employee’s who are accustomed to evading the monitoring system may nolonger be able to tolerate it” (De Tienne 463). These types of employeesmay find they can no longer survive the added pressure of not being able toevade the system (DeTienne 463). While monitoring can add pressure to someemployees it can also be a relief to others. It is a relief to the employeebecause it provides information readily at hand. With the use of prompts, actingas reminders to workers of information needed is passed on efficiently allowingemployees to do a better job.
However, if prompts are used to tell an employeehow much time has been wasted or how bad an employee is doing their job, itcould cause the opposite effect (DeTienne 463). Monitoring can have a positiveeffect on workers by letting the employee access their own information. In astudy by Christopher Early information about job performence given by a computeris accepted better than a performance rating given by a boss. This can only havepositive results for both employers and employees (De Tienne 463). While at thistime monitoring is based on the output of an employee’s performance.
In thefuture there will be more freedom for employees to use their own ideas,therefore making monitoring more effective (DeTienne 464). While monitoring willbe used mostly as a tool. One example of monitoring as a weapon is seen when awoman took an extra minute in the bathroom was threatened with loosing her job. With this added stress she suffered a nervous breakdown.
The Company insistedthat they were not “spying” but were only trying to improve theirbusiness (DeTienne 465). If monitoring is not used correctly businesses willsuffer with increases in operating costs because of “increased turnover,absenteeism, medical costs, and worker’s compensation” (DeTiene 465)Employers who use positive reinforcement with monitoring will guarantee bettermotivation. Employers therefore receive the benefits of better business (DeTienne465). Although, most employers will use monitoring in a positive way,legislation may be needed to protect employees from those who abuse themonitoring system.
The protection of employees should be the most importantissue now and in the future. Legislation has the potential to help employeeswith issues of better treatment and the right to privacy (De Tienne 465). In theNew Century companies that succeed, according to John Scully who is chairman ofApple Computers, will be the ones who learn from the past and from the “meboss and you employee” mentality. Instead of possessing this mentalityemployers should strive to make employees feel better about themselves and theirjobs (DeTienne 466). A good Blacksmith can take a hammer and forge a weapon intoa tool that can benefit the whole village. Employers are the Blacksmithsemployees are the hammers, monitoring is the tool.
It takes both to make a toolto benefit the future. BibliographyDeTienne, Kristen Bell. “Big Brother or Friendly Coach: Computer Monitoringin the 21st Century” Writing and Reading Across the Curriculum. Ed LaurenceBehrens and Leonard J.
Rosen New York. Addison Wesley Longhorn, Inc. 1997461-466