E-Mail Monitoring of Employees, Ethical, Social and Legal Aspects

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For assessment item 3 you need to write a report based on the following scenario:

The use of email has made it possible for people to send messages instantaneously to colleagues and friends who could be located almost anywhere in the world. Constructive use of email has the potential to improve communications amongst people within an organisation and between the organisation and its customers. The advantages of email over traditional mail and/or telephonic communication is the minimal cost, speed and ability to communicate with other people regardless of their location in the world. Most organisations in the Western world use email as a key communication tool.

As email is electronic it means that it is very easy for organisations to monitor the use of email. It is even possible to monitor employees’ use of email without their knowledge. An organisation may choose to monitor staff use of email to protect the company’s image and reputation. Employers could argue that they have the right to information about their employees use of a work tool. Employees could argue that monitoring their email is a violation of their right to privacy. Hence, electronic monitoring of employees email use is a very contentious issue that raises ethical dilemmas for an organisation.

You work as the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) manager in an advertising agency with a head office in Melbourne. There are several locations within other capital cities in Australia. Some staff at your workplace have recently found out that their email traffic is being monitored and have raised objections to this practice. Your manager now wants you to conduct a review of research into the electronic monitoring of employees’ use of email within the workplace. She wants you to write a report that explores the advantages and disadvantages of electronic monitoring of the use of email at work (consider both the employers’ and employees’ perspectives). You have also been asked to...
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