The tracking of employees in organizations has raised a lot of ethical concerns. Privacy is critical with many feeling that tracking is an invasion of their privacy. Information gathered while the tracking is not only about their performance or productivity at their workplace. The data collected can also reveal an individual’s habits, routines and even their decisions. Even though employers use the tracking technology as a way to improve the organization’s performance, the data collected can get used for much more than that especially if accessible to other people. Also, if the data does not get stored securely, it may be left vulnerable to hackers or thieves.
Another ethical issue in tracking of employees is consent. Consent is the informed decision of giving permission to participate in the collection of data. Some employers do not inform their employees that they are being monitored. It may result to the loss of their employees’ trust and dedication to their work. Employers also track the employees even during their lunch breaks or during hours which they are not working. Employees have gotten fired for violating company policies during these hours without even knowing they were being monitored.
Enhancing Performance and Motivation
Tracking sensor information can get used to increase an employee’s productivity. If an organization realizes that its employees interact more during their breaks where they exchange and brainstorm on different ideas, it can encourage this interaction. For example, an organization can change the break times not to be taken individually but as a group. Consequently, the employees can exchange their ideas with their group members that will in turn lead to increased productivity in their work. According to Mishra and Crampton (1998), the knowledge of being monitored can result in an increase in employee’s productivity. It can also result to employees taking less time in their breaks and better use of company resources.
Tracking sensors provide information that is not biased and accurate about the performance of employees. Employees can get the results of the evaluation of the information in comparison to their colleagues. The fact that this information is not biased or based on the supervisor’s opinions will allow them to determine ways of improvement. That motivates them to work more efficiently, and they can view their progress themselves from the tracking data.
Employees tracking can be used to know when an innovative idea emerges. Information on the voice properties and body movement can identify when people are excited (Mishra & Crampton, 1998). That can be a notification of the occurrence of inspiration among employees. Employers can confirm these occurrences and follow up with employees to encourage employees to implement their idea. These actions can encourage all other employees to exercise their creativity.
Reactions to Tracking Sensors
Some people have likened the use of tracking sensors in their workplaces to ‘Big Brother’. Some employees say that the monitoring shows that the management does not trust them to be effective even without being monitored. The implementation of this system has gotten linked to increased stress and job dissatisfaction.
There are people who support this implementation and argue that it increases the consistency of productivity in organizations. Some employees understand that the data collected can benefit the organization and also themselves. Also, the fact that the data collected is not based on human evaluations, makes the employees take the feedback positively and motivates them to work more efficiently.
Advantages of Open Management
Open management can lead to the improvement of an organization’s performance. By letting employees access the financial records, they can see how far or close the company is from achieving its goals. They understand their contribution to the company’s performance, and it may lead to them putting in more effort (Melnick, 2012). Employees may also have input or ideas that may be of use to increasing the company’s productivity. Giving them access to the records encourages them to contribute or propose any solutions they might have.
Sharing information openly also reduces gossiping among employees. With access to the organization’s information, it leaves employees with no need to speculate about what the management is doing. Employees can also understand the situation and tend to focus on achieving the company’s goals.
Disadvantages of Open Management
The open door policy in organizations gives employees a chance to raise their concerns. That may lead to employees wasting valuable time that they would use working or that the management would use making important decisions. Access to a lot of organization’s information may also give employees the idea that they are equal to their superiors, and they too should get involved in the decision-making process. That might make it difficult for the supervisors to criticize other employee’s actions.
Open management may also lead to disruption in the chain of command. Employees may find it okay to report or raise their concerns to the senior management while bypassing their immediate supervisors (Mishra & Crampton, 1998). These may cause unnecessary conflicts among the employees and may also put the senior management in an awkward position on how to respond.
The open door policy in an organization tends to improve the relationship between the employees and the management. However, it is also important that employees do not get access to all the information. Information on company resources, financial records, clients and the roles and responsibilities of other employees can get accessed. With this information, the employees can understand the organization better. It also gives employees a sense of responsibility in the organization’s success. Information on co-worker’s salaries and company’s contracts should not be provided to the employees (Mishra & Crampton, 1998). Unnecessary conflicts result from employees discussing their colleague’s salaries. Access to sensitive information such as contracts may put the organization at a security risk.
Employees may resist the open management policy since it gives their colleagues access to information about them. It may place them in compromising positions where they might have to defend themselves. For example, on the amount of salary they get especially if it is higher than the rest.
The management may resist the open door policy since it gives employees opinions on the organization’s matters. The management may also feel that it is best for information to get disclosed only to those people who require it in their jobs. That ensures employees focus more on their job and not the organization’s issues.
Melnick, L. (2012, November 20). The Benefits of Open-book Management. The Business of Social Media. Retrieved from http://lloydmelnick.com/2012/11/20/the-benefits-of-open-book-management/
Mishra, J. M., Crampton, S. M. (1998). Employee monitoring: Privacy in the Workplace? S.A.M. Advanced Management Journal, 63(3). 4-11. Retrieved from http://faculty.bus.olemiss.edu/breithel/final%20backup%20of%20bus620%20summer%202000%20from%20mba%20server/frankie_gulledge/employee_workplace_monitoring/employee_monitoring_privacy_in_the_workplace.htm