Ironically, at a time that American managers are moving more towards more positive, employee-empowering approaches to motivation, technology has allowed for ever-closer monitoring of employee activities. In a recent article titled "Snooping Bosses," Time magazine pulled startling data from some recent studies: nine out of ten employers observe your electronic behavior; 76% of employers watch you surf the Web; 36% track content, keystrokes, and time spent at the keyboard; and 38% hire staff to sift through your email. The article also cites more extreme examples. A new product called HyGenius can detect restaurant employee handwashing and soap usage. A security firm in California installed specialized GPS systems in company cell phones to alert the boss if workers strayed from their territories or drove too fast. And at an Ohio firm called Citywatcher, some workers volunteered to have ID chips embedded in their arms.
Do you believe managers are justified in monitoring employees? Should managers always alert workers about monitoring? At what point (if any) does management monitoring become unethical? Would your perspective be different if you were the owner of the company? Explain your answers.