The Case of the Omniscient Organization

Topics: Privacy, Surveillance, Employment Pages: 4 (1196 words) Published: May 21, 2010
Case Analysis: The Case of the Omniscient Organization

In this case study, Dominion-Swann (DS) has implemented a “radical restructuring of the work environment” in order to regain control of its employees. By 1990, DS had been suffering from a number of business woes. It was not keeping pace with its competition, employee turnover had increased substantially, health costs and work-related accidents were rising, and employee theft was at an all-time high. Instead of identifying and addressing the underlying business and management problems, DS decided to treat the symptoms by turning to SciexPlan Inc. to help radically restructure the work environment through the use of employee monitoring technology.

DS has justified its work environment restructuring based on past failures rather than future goals for success. The company has created a system to compile a comprehensive database of information on every employee. DS also monitors its employees in all aspects of their job, subjecting them to constant evaluation and productivity tests. The massive amount of information collected on each employee is supposed to allow DS to objectively manage personnel and make job assignments that provide the greatest efficiency. Instead, DS has created an impersonal monitoring, surveillance, and detection system designed to lay traps for employees and shape their behavior without any managerial effort.

Problem Statement
Has DS become so consumed with its “radical restructuring of the work environment” that it has prioritized technology and control over the welfare, creativity, and productivity of its people?

Analysis and Issues
Digital technology has made an undeniably profound impact, both positive and negative, on the workplace. When implemented properly, the benefits of this impact can include increased productivity, improved safety, better working conditions, and enhanced communications between employees, management, and...

References: Pedeliski, Theodore B. (1997). Privacy and the workplace: Technology and public employment. Public Personnel Management. December 22, 1997.
Shoppes, Mia. (2003). Employee monitoring: Is big brother a bad idea. Information Security Magazine. Dec. 9, 2003.
American Civil Liberties Union. (1997). Privacy in America: Electronic monitoring. Retrieved from
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