Surveillance In The Workplace Can Be Counterproductive, Study Shows

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The results of a research work have shown that monitoring workers can be counterproductive, especially where employers rely on an employee’s moral sensitivity to prevent misconduct.

The study also stated that a sense of fairness can help mitigate the adverse effect of monitoring.

The findings were carefully presented in the research paper “Stripped of Agency: The Paradoxical Effect of Employee Monitoring on Deviance,” published in the SAGE Journal of Management. Several researchers from several US universities participated in the study and investigated why surveillance can actually increase the likelihood of rule violations.

To monitor work more effectively, Chase Thiel, an associate professor of management at the University of Wyoming and one of the authors, explained that employers need to consider three things: whether surveillance is necessary, why they put in place a monitoring system, and how they do it.

“It’s amazing the type of data you can get through modern monitoring systems — you can really get a sense of if an employee is struggling and why they’re struggling. So, you can pull up this data that can be really constructive for the employee. What our research shows is that because there are legitimate reasons for monitoring, there are ways you can introduce these systems and not cause counterproductive consequences,” Thiel said.

The sources for this piece include an article in Sagepub.

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