IT Ethics in the Workplace

The following essay consists of a case study locates in (Turban, 2018) regarding the Ethics in the Workplace Relating to IT. First, reasons for the firms to use online monitoring of employees. Second, he consequences for lack of implementing. Third, arguments of online monitoring from different perspectives. Fourth, the type of technologies used in online monitoring with suppliers.

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Introduction

The Ethics in the Workplace Relating to IT is a video presents new employees joining a company with online monitoring policies to maintain productivity (Turban, 2018, p. 440). There are different reasons and approaches to implement online monitoring in the workplace with benefits and costs. Therefore, there will be significant sequences for lack of implementation of electronic performance monitoring (Dalal, 2005). However, there are arguments for implementing online monitoring in the work place from employer and employee perspectives (Gorman, 1998, p. 22). In present, most employers monitor the electronic activities of their employees by different type of technology with different reasons based on the business and legal needs (Ciocchettin, 2011, p. 286).

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Case Briefing

The video had shown that a new employee was joined a company and her supervisor was explained the company behavior policies as per her contract and agreement with the company. First, the supervisor had presented the internet use policy in the company, which manage the usage of the company resources in this matter with given an example of that the employees aren’t allowed to use the PCs in playing games. Second, he had presented the E-mail privacy policy, which specifies the type of information that allowed to be shared either internal and external and which devices can be used in sharing (Ethics in the Workplace Relating to IT – Team 8, 2019).

On the other hand, the supervisor had presented the used technology, which used to monitor the online activities of the employees that related to the allowed websites. The company executes different technologies to monitor by tracking the online movement of the employee and reviewing the cookies for the employees’ computers. The company implements the click screen technology, which monitors the accessed websites by the employees and the duration for them in order to generate behavior patterns of online activities. Moreover, it is monitoring the type of e-mails and information sharing by its computes in the same order (Ethics in the Workplace Relating to IT – Team 8, 2019).

In the end, the new employee had requested the reasons beyond implementing the policy and inquiry if the company doesn’t trust its employees. The supervisor had mentioned the reasons, which related to the cost of not used similar polices. First, the company will be in financial risk, in case of failing to monitor its online actives. Second, the company must protect its information confidentiality to protect its employees from falling in legal claims. So, implementing such kind of polices will have effective protection for the employee and company (Ethics in the Workplace Relating to IT – Team 8, 2019).

Reasons beyond the Online Monitoring of Employees’ Behavior and Benefits

According to (Ciocchettin, 2011), there are any reasons for the employee monitoring in the workplace with many practices to perform it. These practices have covered search engines, filters, and firewalls, access panels, monitoring of social network and monitoring of E-mails. Indeed, there are benefits of the usage of the same kind of practices, which related to productivity and legal protections (Ciocchettin, 2011, p. 301). Moreover, most of the organizations use the technology to collect and employee behavior, which will be effective in analyzing the real-time data for performance assessment, training and development and employee safety (L. Tomczak, Lanzo, & Aguinis, 2018).

The first reason beyond the monitoring is to reduce the legal liabilities on the firm. Since online communication provides wide access to the world, the negative side of that technology is that lack of information protection. Employees may share critical information that harming the firm or related party. Since the financial transactions are critical for the firm and customers, the firm will be legally liable for such kind of information (Holton, 2009, p. 860).

The second reason is that protecting company assets due to compromise intellectual property of the firm by sharing critical information or facing hacking attack. According to (Areneo, 1996), there is two types of risks in using online communication for the firms; the likelihood that an online communication might compromise the firm’s intellectual property or other intangible assets. Indeed, it is easy for the employee to share any information, which related to the business operations of the process such as pricing decisions, technical data for product and customer records. So, leaking of similar information may consistent with the self-interest (Areneo, 1996, p. 345).

The third reason is to promote productivity by control the working time of the employees. Indeed, the employer seeking optimum working hours for the employees by preventing the wasting of the firm resources. So, from the firm perspectives, implementing such kind of monitoring will increase the focusing on the work instead of destructions with personal activities (Reiter, 2006).

Lack of Monitoring Consequences

According to (L. Tomczak, Lanzo, & Aguinis, 2018), there will be significant consequences for miss implementation of electronic performance monitoring. First, the firms will not able to capture the behavior pattern for individual ang group behavior due to lack of real time data. Second, the firm face legal liabilities due to the absence of regulations for monitoring. Third, there will be a risk of having negative impacts on intellectual property and confidential information. Fourth, the firm will lose the chance to have an effective development plan due to unclear behavior patterns. Fifth, escalation of the risk to have unutilized resources due to the possibility to use the firm’s resources for personal instead of organizational. Sixth, escalation the risk of security issues either by hacking the firm’s system or damaging the system by viruses’ attack, which causes financial costs for the firm (Dalal, 2005).

Arguments of Online Monitoring of Employees’ Behavior

Advocates of the policy of monitoring employee use of the internet refer to different reasons for their position. First, a low level of employee output who wasting time online. Second, there are legal aspects to permit employees to retrieve information from different zones of the internet without the knowledge of administration. Third, there is a concern about the company’s policies on intelligence and security and the company’s own information. So, these policies without a proper monitoring will be useless (Gorman, 1998, p. 22).

Indeed, there is a concern about the experience of serious information systems to deadly computer viruses. The argument for avoiding such experience to damaging computer viruses stems from the circumstance that firms are secure in the impression that all their information systems have been thoroughly patterned for such problems. Currently, when an employee undertaking beyond the restrictions of the firm’s infrastructure and programs it is very modest for them to pick up a virus from unknown. When this occurs, the user can expose a firm’s entire network to extensive problems and consequently major financial cost. The argument trails that through program of monitoring or blockage of employee usage, companies reduce the risk of this kind of event (Gorman, 1998, p. 22).

The argument on the legal front considers the fact that employees, as representatives of a company, are open to lawsuits when information they retrieve or send out is deemed to be inappropriate. So, legal liabilities take a place from firm’s perspective is that the firm needs to protect itself by implementing policy to present its legal position. However, the clear side is that there will risk of damage to a company’s reputation if an employee is claimed doing something that is against the law (Gorman, 1998, p. 22).

On the other hand, opponents of internet monitoring rely on the old principles, which are protecting human rights. First, the right to privacy is at the core of this employee monitoring issue. Opponents of monitoring state that if a firm is seeking to the productivity, it should start by fostering an environment of productivity and enjoyment as opposed to the monitoring. Second, they relay on the contract between the firm and the employee, which identify the internet usage policy and the level of trust. So, no need to have such kind of monitoring since the firm has protected legal by the contract (Gorman, 1998, p. 23).

Suppliers of Employee Monitoring Software

In fact, most employers monitor the electronic activities of their employees by different type of technology with different reasons based on the business and legal needs. The most of developed technologies in this field are legal in accordance with firms’ policy and government regulations. However, the employers will implement the prober technology based on the business needs with respect to the cost (Ciocchettin, 2011, p. 286).

Types of technologies and Costs

Employers have used different approaches in monitoring their employees, most of the used technologies monitor inside the workplace. However, the technologies may monitor outside of the workplace such as vehicles’ GPS for tracking and remote e-mail. So, the most common technologies, which used to monitor are; GPS for tracking, e-mail monitoring, access panels, filters and firewalls, and monitoring of social network and search engine usage.

Access panels are electronic devices programmed to monitor an entry permitting for a restricted area. The panels need staffs to verify their identity by a password, a fingerprint or s an identification card. An official entry will be logged in the system as the panel electronically unlocks the door with maintaining records for entries. On the other hand, illegal entry will be logged and recorded with alarm to alert company personnel and/or law enforcement. Access panels permit the employee to access company facilities for the whole day. Cisco Systems are the preferred globally in implementing such technology with competitive cost based on the business requirements (Ciocchettin, 2011, p. 302).

Monitoring e-mail accounts is a communal exercise for more than fifty percent of employees due to behavior study purpose. Indeed, they use programs to track the content, size, time and receivers of company’s e-mails. The programs may track even Web-based e-mail, which provided by different suppliers such as Hotmail or Yahoo. The users of this technology monitor incoming and outgoing e-mails (Ciocchettin, 2011, p. 308).

Filters and Firewalls Restricting Internet Access is one of the used technologies in monitoring for more productive by restricting non-related work activities during working hours. According to (Ciocchettin, 2011), more than sixty five percent of employers block unofficial Web sites on employee computers. There are many providers for such kind of services like McAfee, which provide the service as a control panel for the required access or filters (Ciocchettin, 2011, p. 309).

GPS and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) are electronic tracking devices, which provide specific location information for substances or individuals. This technology is used by employers to monitor the location of their employees and assets. Moreover, employers use this technology to permit the operation of equipment or monitor the movement of employees within the workplace. There are many providers for this technology such as SatCop company, which design the required system with competitive prices based on the business needs (Ciocchettin, 2011, pp. 310-312).

Indeed, there is a competitive market for providing the mentioned technology with competitive cost with different type and models. So, to be effective, the firm shall identify the business needs for such kind of technology to formulate a scope of work with considering the financial impacts of implementing monitoring technology. On the other hand, the monitoring policy shall clarify the used technology in this regard to protect the employee’s privacy, as well as, protect the firm from the legal liabilities (L. Tomczak, Lanzo, & Aguinis, 2018, p. 2).

Conclusion

In the end, the case had mentioned two reasons beyond the policies, which are the company will be in financial risk and the company must protect its information confidentiality to protect its employees from falling in legal claims (Ethics in the Workplace Relating to IT – Team 8, 2019). According to recent studies, there are many benefits beyond online monitoring which are to reduce the legal liabilities on the firm, protecting company assets due to compromise intellectual property of the firm by sharing critical information or facing hacking attack and to promote the productivity by control the working time of the employees (Holton, 2009, p. 860). In case of lack of implementation, there will be significant consequences; the firms will not able to capture the behavior pattern for individual ang group behavior, the firm face legal liabilities, risk to have negative impacts on confidential information, no effective development plan due to unclear behavior patterns, higher risk in utilizing the resources, higher risk for security issues (Dalal, 2005). There are two perspectives in the online monitoring arguments; Advocates who relaying on productivity, legal obligations and security and opponents who relaying on the right to privacy and the employer contract (Gorman, 1998, pp. 22-23). In fact, most employers monitor the electronic activities of their employees by different type of technologies with different reasons based on the business and legal needs. Most of the used technologies to monitor found as; GPS for tracking, e-mail monitoring, access panels, filters, and firewalls, and monitoring of social network and search engine usage (Ciocchettin, 2011, p. 286). To be effective, the firm shall identify the business needs for the technology to formulate scope of work with financial impacts and clarify the monitoring policy to protect the employees and employer from the legal liabilities (L. Tomczak, Lanzo, & Aguinis, 2018, p. 2).

References

Areneo, J. (1996). Pandora’s (e-mail) box: E-mail monitoring in the workplace. Hofstra Law Review, 14, 339–365.

Ciocchettin, C. A. (2011). The Eavesdropping Employer: A Twenty-First Century Framework for Employee Monitoring. American Business Law Journal, Volume 48, Issue 2, 285–369.

Dalal, R. (2005). A meta-analysis of the relationship between organizational citizenship behavior and counterproductive work behavior. Journal of Applied Psychology, 90 (6), 1241-1255.

Ethics in the Workplace Relating to IT – Team 8. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hBRhzyOKPo4

Gorman, J. (1998 ). Monitoring Employee Internet Usage. A EUROPEAN REVIEW: BUSINESS ETHICS, Vol. 7 (1), 21-24.

Holton, C. (2009). Identifying disgruntled employees ystems fraud risk through text mining: A simple solution for a multi-billion dollar problem. Decision Support Systems, 46(4), 853–864.

L. Tomczak, D., Lanzo, L. A., & Aguinis, H. (2018). Evidence-based recommendations for employee performance monitoring. Business Horizons, Volume 61, Issue 2, 251-259.

Reiter, C. (2006). Managing technology; Missed messages: As complaints about e-mail mount, some companies look for new ways to communicate. Wall Street Journal, R8.

Turban, E. P. (2018). Information Technology for Management: On Demand Strategies for Performance, Growth and Sustainability, 11th Edition. WILEY.

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