Procedural fairness and attitudes toward electronic surveillance as predictors of organizational trust and workplace relationships: Friend or foe?

Date

2022-05

Authors

Loeffler, Cari

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Abstract

The rapid and unplanned transition to remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic left employers scrambling to find ways to monitor employee productivity resulting in the increased use of electronic monitoring and surveillance (EMS) technologies to track and observe their employees' activity from afar. Using uncertainty management theory (UMT) as a framework, this study explored how organizational members’ procedural fairness judgements and their attitudes towards surveillance impacts organizational trust and the communication that occurs within their supervisor-subordinate and peer coworker relationships. UMT is based on the premise that people use their overall perceptions of fair treatment as a substitute for interpersonal trust when deciding how to react to requests or demands in social situations, including interactions within organizations. Participants completed an online survey assessing their attitudes toward surveillance, perceptions of procedural fairness, leader communication exchange, and cooperative communication. Results revealed that formal treatment predicted positive attitudes toward surveillance and trust in top management. Formal and informal decision making, informal treatment, and positive attitudes toward surveillance predicted trust in immediate supervisors. Informal treatment predicted professional trust, professional development, affective, verbal communication, nonverbal communication, and accessibility dimensions of leader communication exchange. As EMS technology advances, organizations must rationalize and clarify the reasoning behind monitoring organizational members. Keywords: attitudes toward surveillance, cooperative communication, electronic performance monitoring, leader communication exchange, organizational trust

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Keywords

attitudes toward surveillance, cooperative communication, electronic performance monitoring, leader communication exchange, organizational trust

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