Recent advances in technology have led to the rapid development of electronic monitoring in the workplace (Chen & Ross, 2007). Electronic monitoring is widely used in many industries, and there is no doubt that the size of the workforce subjected to it continues to grow (American Management Association, 2005; D’Urso, 2006). It is used by organizations due to its potential to optimize supervision and control processes, protect company assets, safeguard property information, and avoid costly litigation (Case & Young, 2002; Friedman & Reed, 2007). Electronic monitoring can become a central organizational tool for human resource management as well. It can have a profound impact on several HR functions. For example, an electronic monitoring system may be used as a source of data for performance management and performance evaluation and provide the basis for promotion, training, and development decisions (Wells, Moornan, & Werner, 2007). Due to these capabilities, electronic monitoring affects an array of work-related attitudes and behaviors of employees and management (Stanton, 2000b). Existing research is focusing on identifying the ways to make electronic monitoring acceptable to all stakeholders, by elucidating electronic monitoring designs that help maintain the motivation and well-being of individuals. However, we are only beginning to address the issue of the effects of organizational culture and human resource strategy on the role of electronic monitoring and its effectiveness within specific organizational contexts (Chen & Ross, 2005). These contextual factors may determine the role that electronic monitoring plays in managing human resources, from being one of the technology-enhanced human resource management practices devolved to line managers, to being a central part of the overall human resource strategy that supports various HR functions within an organization. The purpose of this article is to present a model of electronic monitoring effectiveness that combines the major electronic monitoring characteristics, their individual and organizational outcomes, and contextual variables that affect electronic monitoring acceptance and use.
Electronic monitoring has undeniable advantages (Vaught, Taylor, & Vaught, 2000). It can provide detailed, objective information about employee productivity and work-related behaviors (Camardella, 2003; Fairweather, 1999; Lee & Kleiner, 2003; Martin & Freeman, 2003). It can also help managers to provide immediate feedback to monitored employees, identify training needs, and facilitate goal setting, as well as ensure meaningful and less subjective performance evaluations (Goomas, 2007; Martin & Freeman, 2003). Electronic monitoring can lead to greater organizational security and lessen employer liability for employee actions (Lee & Kleiner, 2003; Martin & Freeman, 2003). Another advantage of electronic monitoring is that it affords more flexibility in work location and hours (Fairweather, 1999; Zweig & Webster, 2002).