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M5D2: Privacy in the Workplace.

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One of the primary duties of a manager is to oversee and manage an employee’s work. More than likely, we have all worked for micro-managers who keep their thumbs on employees. On the opposite end of the spectrum are the managers who do not want to talk at all with employees about what they are doing. These managers are often troubled by the oversight function of their job. Regardless of management style, oversight of the work has to occur. The nature of the work has an effect on the best way to oversee it. Whatever approach to oversight they take, all managers are responsible for assigning, coordinating, and reviewing the work of those who report to them. Part of this process requires that managers ask employees questions. The expectation by managers is that employees will tell the truth; however, not all employees will tell the truth at all times. Because of this situation, we need to find ways to discover the truth of what an employee is doing in order to enhance our ability to oversee work.

This brings us to the subject of employee privacy. Privacy can be a touchy subject for employees. The right to privacy is something that we hold dear. Does the situation dictate the level of privacy we are given? Many would say yes. There are different categories of privacy: information, thoughts, physical, drug testing, employee monitoring, and email/Internet monitoring. Each of these categories has distinct ethical dimensions that can make the job of a manager more difficult.

For your discussion: 

  • Choose a privacy category.
  • Research the topic and locate one article from the EC Virtual Library that addresses that category of privacy.
  • Analyze the complexity of the ethical dimensions of that category using one of the ethics theories covered in Module 1.
  • Put yourself in the position of the manager who has to oversee work and must address that category of privacy.
    • What are the challenges you will face?
    • What concerns will your employees have?
    • How are you addressing the ethical challenges inherent in the category of privacy?
  • Use ethical theory to support your choices.

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