Computer Monitoring in the Workplace: Performance Effects and Perceptions

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Rubenstein, Kimberly S
computer monitoring; social facilitation; performance; feedback; perceptions; Industrial and Organizational Psychology; Social Psychology
thesis / dissertation description
Computer performance monitoring (CPM) has become prevalent in modern day as several work functions are now completed on the computer. Under the framework of social facilitation effect (Zajonc, 1965), it is possible that CPM may affect performance because of the feeling of being evaluated. In addition to its effects on performance, employees’ perceptions of CPM are important to consider when employers are deciding whether or not to implement its use in the workplace. Employees may feel apprehensive about being electronically observed, however CPM can be used to employees’ benefit through its ability to provide accurate and detailed information about their performance, which can be used to inform feedback delivery. Providing specific feedback regarding performance has been shown to improve short-term performance, however this has not been studied in the context of CPM. The present study manipulated the specificity of the feedback provided to determine the effects on performance, as well as perceptions of the use of CPM. Though the results of this study did not replicate the social facilitation effect, those who had experienced computer monitored expressed more favorable perceptions of its use than those who had not. This suggests that exposure to CPM may increase acceptance of its use within the organization. Results are discussed in terms of the benefits of CPM for the organizations as well as employees’ perceptions of its use.