Employee perceptions of fairness toward IoT monitoring

Date12 November 2018
Publication Date12 November 2018
AuthorMaryam Al-Hitmi,Karma Sherif
SubjectInformation & knowledge management,Knowledge management,Knowledge management systems
Employee perceptions of fairness
toward IoT monitoring
Maryam Al-Hitmi and Karma Sherif
Department of Accounting and Information Systems,
Qatar University College of Business and Economics, Doha, Qatar
Purpose This paper aims to explore Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled monitoring in a multi-national
petrochemical organization in Qatar and nds that the technology does not negatively inuence employee
perceptions of fairness,challenging current propositions on monitoringand highlighting the emerging role of
culture, competition and paradoxical leadership in moderating the relationship between IoT-enabled
monitoringand perceptions of fairness.
Design/methodology/approach The authors adopted qualitative research as the methodological
premise to explore the relationship between IoT-enabled monitoring and perceptions of fairness. They
collecteddata from an oil and gas organization in Qatar to test the validity of the proposed hypotheses.
Findings While I0T-enabled monitoringwas perceived as pervasive, tracking every move and recording
conversations, the diffusion of the technology throughout Qatar desensitized employees who felt it was the
new reality around workspaces. The following three important factors reshaped employeesperceptions
toward IoT-enabledmonitoring: a culture that is driven by productivity and strongly adheresby policies and
standards to reach set goals; a highly competitive job market; and a paradoxical leadership who balances
between the competitionand lucrative rewards.
Research limitations/implications The limitation of this research is that the authors conducted a
case study in similar organizations withinthe oil and gas industry in the State of Qatar to refute the theory
that electronic monitoring of employees in the workspace elicits perceptions of unfairness. Future research
can conduct quantitative surveysof employee perceptions in different industries within differentcultures to
be able to generalizeand evolve a universal theory.
Practical implications The research ndings shed light on the escalating pressureglobal competition
exerts on employees that nervousness aboutpervasive monitoring systems is replaced with fear of job loss
and analytics on monitoring data is welcomed as a means of readjusting behavior to meet performance
Originality/value The case study is the rst to highlightthe desensitization of employees to monitoring
and the increasingpressure competition plays in motivating them to exceed expectations.
Keywords Data analytics, Electronic monitoring, Human capital analysis
Paper type Research paper
1. Introduction
Monitoring of the workspace is an important control of corporate governance aimed at
inuencing employee behavior to achieve organizational objectives (Robertson and
Anderson, 1993). Research has continually proven that the use of monitoring systems
positively inuences organizational performance (Bhave, 2014). With the diffusion of
information technology, electronic monitoring systems are automatically collecting data on
employee performance and suggesting ways to improve productivity (Attewell, 1987;
Amick and Smith, 1992;George,1996;Kulik and Ambrose, 1993).
The Internet of Things (IoT) is an emerging set of technologies that connects devices to
the internet to remotely monitor and control performance (Kaupins and Coco, 2017). The
devices collect, share, and analyze data to optimize resource consumption, enhance
Received2 February 2018
Revised3 June 2018
Accepted15 June 2018
VINEJournal of Information and
KnowledgeManagement Systems
Vol.48 No. 4, 2018
pp. 504-516
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/VJIKMS-01-2018-0007
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