Can Electronic Surveillance Help Those Who Are Always Late To Work?

Posted under I am Always Late on Tuesday 21 August 2012 at 10:31 pm

electronic surveillanceFor the last decade the issues of electronic surveillance and monitoring of employees at work became the focus of researches and management specialists. Electronic surveillance means using measures of electronic control over the work of employees, like video cameras, automatic devices monitoring telephone conversations or Internet usage, devices of automatic registration of entry and exit, electronic time control, etc. Many practical researchers speak for using electronic surveillance and monitoring at work. They say it can be a very effective tool for controlling the employees, catching those who are always late, detecting workers’ faults, idleness and frauds. “People won’t steal or slack off if they know they’re being watched. The average employee is productive 30 minutes out of an hour. They spend the rest of the time chatting, making personal telephone calls, getting something to drink, or going to the restroom,” says Maggie Morgan, a specialist of Sentry Surveillance in Kennesaw, Ga. (Electronic Surveillance in the Workplace, Norwich Uni.)

But, of course, specialists underline practical negativism and rejection of using daily electronic monitoring from the side of the employees. People like to be trusted and mostly pay back for this with good productivity and decent behavior at work. Many employees find measures of electronic control and surveillance to be the acts, which derogate from their human dignity and directly infringe the privacy rights of a person. Such opposition received immediate support by legislative regulations. In a number of European countries, like Austria, there are some restrictions for using measures of electronic surveillance at work. In order to establish any form of electronic control of employees, business organizations need to receive a special permission from the works council. Similar laws, establishing privacy protection regulations, were attempted to be adapted in our country, in particular, in California, but they were vetoed by the Governor at the early stages.

In any way, recently the demand and popularity of using different means of electronic surveillance in the USA is firmly growing. As the survey of NBC Nightly News shows, about 40% of American small companies use video cameras to control the employees during their working hours, (Electronic Surveillance at the Workplace, Norwich Uni.). Now more than 80% of the companies control Internet usage of the employees. Also, more than 50% of the companies monitor telephone conversations of the personnel, when in 2001 this index was only 9% (2005 Electronic Surveillance Survey). Besides, the researches underline that recently the sensitivity of the employees to electronic control and monitoring is decreasing (including those who are always late), and now the personnel becomes more and more tolerant to the measures of electronic surveillance at work. Especially after the events of Sept. 11, people started finding electronic surveillance and monitoring to be very efficient for preventing some dangerous criminal or immoral intentions of the employees.

Now many employers practice notifying their employees about the periods of using electronic surveillance and monitoring. Recently, the employers firmly extend usage of this type of control for keeping the threads of business in their hands. “To help control the risk of litigation, security breaches and other electronic disasters, employers should take advantage of technology tools to battle people problems—including the accidental and intentional misuse of computer systems, telephones and other electronic resources,” Nancy Flynn, director of a research project, commented (2005, Electronic Surveillance Survey). Of course, using the means of electronic surveillance at workplace is acceptable practice. Moderate usage of electronic surveillance, especially in small business, where it is much easier to control everything personally can assist in catching chronic latecomers, chronic lazy workers or those who do not want to do their job properly. Some control by electronic surveillance can be reasonable at large developed enterprises or production plants, but it must be done carefully and periodically. However, in the offices or factories, where bosses demonstrate trust to their employees and use minimal amounts of electronic surveillance, the output and organizational climate are a lot better.

Decision Making And Six Thinking Hats, Part II

Posted under Decision Making on Sunday 5 August 2012 at 9:15 pm

Click here to read Part I.

Thinking under Yellow Hat is totally opposite to Black Hat, it means positive logical objective thinking. Yellow color in decision making symbolizes sun and light, so this hat makes us consider all positive moments of our solution or decision, think over optimistic results of the mission, estimate the advantages and benefits. Six Thinking HatsThis hat is especially effective for problems solving, when the situation seems to be negative, so looking for positive moments may encourage making correct and most effective decisions.

Green color of the hat symbolizes grasses and fertility, so thinking under Green Hat means using creativity in order to generate some new ideas, to look for alternatives and fresh approaches, and to analyze possible ways of solving the problem or decision making. This concept requires speculative thinking, which can be done with the help of a number of creativity techniques.

Finally, Blue Hat thinking is the last stage of the whole strategy. It makes us summarize and control the results obtained from all the previous “colored” procedures. During group thinking this stage must be performed by its leader. Blue color of this hat symbolizes skies, so it makes us look at the solution or decision from above perspective and try to understand, whether we came to the right solution or decision or not. If the ideas are not sufficient and the problem needs more attention, we can be back to Green Hat thinking. Blue Hat thinking is very important: it requires skills to overview, to analyze and to control, together with abilities to use meta-cognition.

As it is possible to understand from the description of the method of Six Thinking Hats, it can be more effective when performed in group, because this way a number of different independent personal opinions can be obtained and considered. It is remarkable that every each procedure of thinking must be performed by ALL members of the group, without selecting people for each particular hat according to their personal characteristics (for example, Black Hat thinking must be done not only by “natural” critics or pessimistic individuals, but by everyone in the group).

This technique of decision making is especially valuable and useful in commercial and business environment, where correct decision making becomes principal point for successful functioning and progress of an organization. This strategy of thinking helps to focus and concentrate on the problem, to get broader view of the situation, to develop abilities of clear lateral thinking and creativity, to improve communication skills, and, therefore, to fasten the procedure of decision making.

Six Thinking Hats strategy can be used in many different situations: for example, when administration of a company is trying to make a decision about expanding their business, launching a new trade mark, constructing or renting new buildings, opening a new affiliated office, or employing another CEO, etc. Also, we can use this method individually, when our decision requires some serious consideration and creativity. It can be, for example, solving some interpersonal problems, or making decision about moving to a new house.

But in some particular cases, for example, when the problem does not require deep thinking and extended analysis, when there is not much of available information or data connected with the problem, when all the risks are low and decision must be made fast, or when proper decision can be made randomly, this method may not be very useful due to its relatively big expenses of time and bulkiness.

This strategy is universal, very effective and widely applicable to all decision making situations. It does not require any special preparation or training (though some authorized training groups do exist), so it can be performed by anybody in any place. Many giant and powerful companies, like IBM, Polaroid, DuPont, British Airways, Federal Express, Pepsico, and others, successfully use the method of Six Thinking Hats for making important business decisions and looking for the most effective business strategies.

The technique of Six Thinking Hats is a perfect practical tool for effective decision making. It promotes creativity and helps to avoid possible mistakes in selecting a solution or decision. It allows combining critical rationalism and positive emotions in order to receive better output. It helps to make the process of evaluation and decision making much more constructive and productive.