E-Mail Monitoring Affects Employee Stress essay

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Often companies find that when they first install filtering software or routers, the sites and communications employees need to do their jobs cannot be done. What is needed then is a gradual move to include those sites and types of communications with outside suppliers, buyers, customers, resellers, services organizations and other key constituents. The use of monitoring however is prevalent, according to the American Management Associated; fully 76% of companies from their 2005 survey on this subject actively monitor the use of websites and filter them based on content (American Management Association 2005). The momentum in businesses t measure, monitor and modify their Acceptable Use Policies is now in full-swing, and the development of these policies must be governed by the broader strategic needs of the company on the one hand and the need to ensure an acceptable environment for employees to work in on the other (Pauli, 2001).

Method

The research objective of this study is to measure the level of awareness of e-mail monitoring programs in a typical company which is part of the services sector. Employee's levels of awareness of e-mail monitoring policies, their impressions and attitudes towards them, and the resulting influence on their behavior and productivity is the intent of this study. The research objective, hypothesis, variables included in the analysis and the methodology are provided in this section as well. Appendix a includes the questionnaire used in this analysis. Limitations of the study and threats to validity are also discussed.

Research Objectives

To statistically prove that e-mail monitoring educational programs are not understood and effectively communicated in companies.

To validate significant differences between the perceptions of e-mail monitoring programs between genders.

Hypothesis

Null Hypothesis: There is no significant statistical difference of employees with regard to their knowledge of e-mail policy specifics.

Alterative Hypothesis: There is a significant statistical difference of employees knowing the specific of the e-mail policies in their companies.

Methodology and Research Design total of thirty respondents were interviewed in person suing the questionnaire shown in Appendix a of this study. Gender, percentage of time spent checking e-mail, if the organization had terminated anyone for using e-mail outside the policies, and if the organization and informed them via written policies and regulations regarding violation of e-mail usage as well. Attitudes with regard to the right to privacy, legality of monitoring e-mail, attitudinal measurement of e-mail being monitored, and whether the respondent felt any sense of distrust of the organization as a result. All of these factors combined to create a complete empirical analysis of the effectiveness of training programs in teaching employees about e-mail usage policies.

Limitations and Threats to Validity

As with any empirical studies there must be safeguards against interviewer and respondent bias, in addition to guarding against respondent bias. To ensure these threats to validity are minimized, the interviewers defined their role as being from a local university, where the results would be aggregated to ensure their anonymity. In addition the researchers defined their role in the university as being completely separate from the company, and that the results of the survey would only be included in a summarized report. Given the approach of statistical analysis used in Microsoft Excel and Statistical Package for the Social Sciences, it would be impossible to isolate each specific response by respondent, further ensuring their confidentiality as well.

Analysis

As was stated in the Method section, the Hypothesis for this study is as follows:

Null Hypothesis: There is no significant statistical difference of employees with regard to their knowledge of e-mail policy specifics and their attitudes about e-mail monitoring.

Alterative Hypothesis: There is a significant statistical difference of employees knowing the specific of the e-mail policies in their attitudes about e-mail monitoring.

The statistical analysis techniques used for completing this research study include frequency distributions of each of the 13 variables in the analysis followed by a Bivariate Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) of all variable sin the study using parametric and non-parametric correlational techniques. In addition cross-tabulations are used for further analysis of the data.

Bivariate ANOVA correlation analysis produced the correlation matrix in Appendix B of this document. Pearson Correlation Coefficients were derived to measure parametric strength of the variability in each factor included in the analysis. Both Spearman Rho and Kendall tau_b were included for non-parametric comparisons. The results show that there is a statistically significant correlation between respondents' perceptions of the ethicacy of using e-mail for personal or even illegal use and the incidence of training completed. The Pearson Correlation Coefficient (R2) between the variable "Does your organization inform you of the written policies and regulations regarding violation of e-mail usage?" And "Do you consider email monitoring illegal?" generates an R2 of.537, significant at the.01 level of confidence. The role of education programs has a statistically significant effect on the attitudes of employees when they consider their e-mails being monitored. Education of policies in this area appears to significantly lower resistance to change and therefore increase the incidence of adoption and adherence to them as well. Another finding underscores the effectiveness of education of policies in making employees aware of their rights to privacy. Comparing the variables "Do you know what your rights to privacy concerning e-mail monitoring are?" And "Does your organization inform you of the written policies and regulations regarding violation of e-mail usage?" yields a Pearson Correlation Coefficient of R2 of.431, significant at the.05 level of confidence.

Taken together, these two correlations highlight how critical it is for companies to work aggressively at educating their employees as to their rights relative to e-mail monitoring. As both of these correlations are significant at or above the.05 level of confidence, the Alternative Hypothesis is accepted, There is a significant statistical difference of employees knowing the specific of the e-mail policies in their attitudes about e-mail monitoring.

When all variables included in the analysis are however used in a linear regression analysis to see if combined they are treated as independent variables influencing the dependent variable, "Do you consider email monitoring illegal?" no statistically significant findings were found specifically defining the variation in this variable.

Discussion

The greater the level of commitment on the part of companies to share the specifics of their e-mail and Internet use policies, the more accepting employees is of the need to monitor e-mails. Table 1 shown below is a cross-tabulation of the variables "Does your organization inform you of the written policies and regulations regarding violation of e-mail usage" by "Do you think the organization should have the right to monitor your e-mail because they own the system?." 30% of respondents specifically see the monitoring of e-mails as a right of the company. What is troubling however is the 14 respondents who are unsure of the policies regarding e-mail use. This signals a major shortcoming in teaching strategies.

Crosstab

Does your organization inform you of the written policies and regulations regarding violation of e-mail usage?

A yes no unsure Do you think the organization should have the right to monitor your e-mail because they own the system? yes Count 10 4-14-28% within Does your organization inform you of the written policies and regulations regarding violation of e-mail usage? 100.0% 66.7% 100.0% 93.3% unsure Count 0-2 0-2% within Does your organization inform you of the written policies and regulations regarding violation of e-mail usage?.0% 33.3%.0% 6.7% Total Count 10 6-14-30% within Does your organization inform you of the written policies and regulations regarding violation of e-mail usage? 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% it is evident from this analysis that there are major shortcomings in the effectiveness of training programs to educate employees on why e-mail use is monitored. In seeing such a high percentage of the sample, nearly 50% not aware of policies it is clear that teaching strategies are not as effective as they could be.

Delving into the survey data through the use of frequency distributions as shown in Appendix B of this study yields the following results. First, men tend to see monitoring as more of a risk to be taken in the name of doing their job, while women are more compliant in general and more attuned to stay well within the boundaries of policies. This is seen in the cross-tabulation of "Does the e-mail monitoring create a sense of distrust among the organization" by gender, showing over 50% of the entire sample, or 16 women, do not see this policy creating a sense of distrust.

Cross-tabulation: Does the e-mail monitoring create a sense of distrust among the organization? * Gender of respondent Crosstabulation

Count

Gender of respondent

Male

Female

Does the e-mail monitoring create a sense of distrust among the organization?

What is remarkable is the variation in results of training programs. A total of 16 respondents, just over 50% of the sample have been trained on policies and appreciate why…[continue]

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