This particular employee is left with less time to perform his professional tasks. This translates into a delay in the project delivery schedule. Additionally, the project delays could generate major customer dissatisfactions, or the breakage of contractual terms, which could easily materialize in more severe organizational losses. Nevertheless, considering that the employee works overtime to reduce the chance of project delays, this time has to be remunerated; virtually, it translates into increased financial costs for the company. Then, the mobile telephone could be used to make quick telephones to competitors and as such sabotage the company's efforts and success chances.
3. Opponents of an IT Policy
Despite the validity of the arguments presented in favor of implementing a strong IT policy, fact remains that there exist also some reasons which make a strong IT policy less favorable within the context of the modern workplace. These are succinctly described below.
3.1. Installation of pirated software
The matter of piracy in the workplace is somewhat different from the following three parts for the simple reason that it involves not only features of morality and work ethics, but is in its essence an illegal operation. Given this situation, it is rather difficult for anyone to generate a strong argument that would militate for freedom to steel software applications within a business context. Nevertheless, some arguments in favor of piracy, and as such the lack of an IT policy, have been forwarded. According to them:
Piracy often occurs when the product is too expensive; yet, the scope of the developer is that of having the consumers use the product; this virtually means that piracy efforts increase the popularity of a software application and support the development of the field (Computer Business Review, 2007)
Piracy can generate cost savings for the company; this feature is common in some organizations, in which managers turn a blind eye to employees who illegally download software applications to get the job done
Piracy has the final benefit of allowing the employee to test an application, and then make an informed recommendation for purchase to his/her manager
3.2. Monitoring of employee telephones, emails and webs access
Monitoring the telephones made by the employees or the emails they send and the web pages they access is in great contrast with the privacy regulations. In this order of ideas, the company's monitorization of an employee's web pages could reveal that he/she is verifying various adoption websites and forums. Now considering that the respective employee is being currently considered for a promotion with increased responsibilities that would require the individual to put in longer hours, the managerial realization that the respective employee might be welcoming a baby soon could reduce the eagerness to promote the employee. They would then promote another employee, who is not likely to engage in personal projects throughout the near future and who is as such able to dedicate more time to the company. This example reveals a situation of not only invaded privacy, but even out right discrimination.
Another instance of invaded privacy is offered by the case of an employee constantly calling a medical facility to confirm appointments with a specialty medic. That individual might be confronted with a difficult period and the invasion of privacy on the part of the employer would only generate frustrations, conflicts, reduced performances and so on.
3.3. Blocking website access and chatting programs
The major benefit of internet blocking and filtering is that of reducing the employees' access to immoral web pages and as such protecting the organizational reputation. In other contexts however, the benefits of the endeavor are virtually inexistent. Take for instance the case of a highly capable and committed employee who is exhausted from working hard on a project. In order to get his ideas back in order and gather sufficient power of concentration to carry on, he needs to spend some time to relax and browse through some internet pages that relax him, such as amusing videos on youtube.com or some jokes and funny pictures on various other websites. This will however be impossible in the context of a strong IT policy. In other words then, limitation of internet access generates a direct negative impact on the concentration powers of the employees, as well as their creativity levels. Ultimately, the company loses.
A second example as to why an IT policy limiting the employees' access to the internet is offered by a situation in which an employee is going through a personal crisis and could use chatting programs to release some tension and resolve his problems. Once he achieves these desiderates, his power of concentration and commitment to organizational goals would increase. Nevertheless, since his usage of chatting programs is restricted, the employee will have to deal with his issues alone, without any support, and this will negatively impact his performances.
3.4. Restricting the usage of mobile telephones
As mentioned throughout the previous section, employees' unrestricted ability to talk on their mobile telephones can lead to severe outcomes. Nevertheless, the opponents of a strict IT policy argue that the limitation of these abilities could have even more severe outcomes. On the one hand, consider than an employee is dealing with a family crisis, such an ill child. While on the job, this particular employee is not able to communicate with his/her spouse and get an update on the status of their offspring, as the company had enforced a no mobile telephones policy. In this context, the employee will unlikely be able to focus on the professional task, as his mind will constantly be with his dear ones. If on the other hand, the company would allow the employee to make the telephone, which would offer him good news, he would then be able to better focus on his job and complete his tasks. It must be mentioned that in cases of an ill child, most leaders will allow the employee to make the phone call, but this dramatic example has been offered for purposes of point making. There are however other situations which could lead to similar outcomes, such as not knowing who will pick a parent from the airport, the desire to know the results of a test and so on.
A second example in favor of mobile telephones on the job is given by the very characteristics of the modern day business community, in which virtually everybody owns and currently uses a mobile telephone. Restricting the usage of telephones could materialize in losses for the company. For instance, say that the employee is in the process of negotiating a contract with a prospective customer, but whenever this customer calls the employees' mobile, the latter is unable to answer. For the company, it will translate in financial loses.
4. Evaluation of Proponents and Opponents
The most adequate means of conducting an evaluation is that of gradually presenting the proponents and opponents of an IT policy restricting the actions of employees during work hours. The table below achieves this objective and assigns points of importance to the most important arguments.
Piracy hurts the company
The organization loses time, money, prestige and the respect of business partners
Piracy hurts the IT industry
This materializes in the fact that pirated software does not credit nor support the merits of the developers
Employee monitorization benefits the company
It reduces information leakages, sets the basis for improved human resource strategy by identifying current problems and reduces costs (such as turnover)
Blocking web pages and chat applications reduces procrastination and increases performances
Employees are not able to waste time browsing the internet for not-work related researches, but focus their time, energy and concentration on professional tasks
Time spent on mobile phones generates procrastination
Procrastination generates project delays, customer dissatisfactions or increased financial costs and can also contribute to campaign sabotage
Piracy promotes the IT industry
The IT industry can be successfully promoted through other channels, without paying the costs of piracy
Piracy saves costs
Cost savings are important, but not worth the risks
Employee monitorization invades privacy
It as such generates internal conflicts, reduced motivation, reduced performances, and even incremental employee turnover rates, which generate increased costs
Blocking web pages and chat applications damages the company
This is achieved as employees feel stifled, reveal lower levels of concentration, as well as significantly decreased creativity levels
Restrictions on mobile telephone usage damage the company
This translates into lack of concentration, reduced motivation levels or reduced creativity. Additionally, it could translate in impeded communications processes with the external stakeholders
Based on the above analysis, it becomes obvious that both promoters as well as disclaimers of an IT policy construct their arguments on strong premises. Ultimately then, it is necessary to implement an IT policy, but it is pivotal for its construction to take into consideration various concepts…