In laziness, theft, and failure.” (Moore 2000, page

In this assignment, I will explore whether
it is ethical for organisations to implement surveillance on its workforce or
whether society has the moral right to privacy. In particular, I will reflect
on the effects of organisational control and apply my personal experience as a
corporate worker. The 21st century has seen a huge transformation in
the way society is open to sharing personal information; blurred lines of
privacy have meant that organisations are able to legitimise employee
monitoring because it is simply seen as a standardised procedure – the norm. Surveillance
is defined as “close observation, especially of a suspected spy or criminal”
(Oxford Dictionaries, 2017) therefore, do organisations that carry out this
activity believe every employee is a potential delinquent? In a modern world
where the 1984 phrase “Big brother is watching you” (Orwell, 1949) seems all
too familiar, the question remains whether employee monitoring is a violation
of workers autonomy.  

 

Surveillance
and organisational control

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Organisational control is where
corporations influence its workforce to behave in certain ways that contribute
to the attainment of the strategic mission. One method of control is
surveillance as it exercises power over employees who behave better as a result
of knowing they are being observed. Organisations use surveillance because they
want to “reward effort, intelligence, productivity, and success while
eliminating laziness, theft, and failure.” (Moore 2000, page 697). This is
supported by Tannenbaum (1967) who believes that control processes such as
employee monitoring help circumscribe idiosyncratic behaviours, and therefore
keeps employees conformant to the rational objectives of the organisation. Since
corporate culture uses surveillance as a control mechanism for its own benefit,
Boehmer (1990) argues that this contributes to creating an ‘electronic
sweatshop’ whereby workers lose all privacy (Flanagan 1994, page 1257). Here it
is questioned how far organisations are willing to go to foster this conformity
and value to the company. 

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