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Exploring privacy and trust for employee monitoring

Shuchih Ernest Chang (Institute of Technology Management, National Chung Hsing Unviersity, Taichung, Taiwan)
Anne Yenching Liu (Institute of Technology Management, National Chung Hsing University, Taichung, Taiwan)
Sungmin Lin (Institute of Technology Management, National Chung Hsing University, Taichung, Taiwan)

Industrial Management & Data Systems

ISSN: 0263-5577

Article publication date: 2 February 2015




The purpose of this paper is to evaluate privacy boundaries and explores employees’ reactions in employee monitoring.


The research used the metaphor of boundary turbulence in the Communication Privacy Management (CPM) theory to demonstrate the psychological effect on employees. The model comprised organizational culture, CPM, trust, and employee performance in employee monitoring to further investigated the influence exerted by organizational culture and how employees viewed their trust within the organization when implementing employee monitoring. Variables were measured empirically by administrating questionnaires to full-time employees in organizations that currently practice employee monitoring.


The findings showed that a control-oriented organizational culture raised communication privacy turbulence in CPM. The communication privacy turbulence in CPM mostly had negative effects on trust in employee monitoring policy, but not on trust in employee monitoring members. Both trust in employee monitoring policy and trust in employee monitoring members had positive effects on employee commitment and compliance to employee monitoring.

Research limitations/implications

This research applied the CPM theory in workplace privacy to explore the relationship between employees’ privacy and trust. The results provide insights of why employees feel psychological resistance when they are forced to accept the practice of employee monitoring. In addition, this study explored the relationship between CPM and trust, and offer support and verification to prior studies.

Practical implications

For practitioners, the findings help organizations to improve the performance of their employees and to design a more effective environment for employee monitoring.


A research model was proposed to study the impacts of CPM on employee monitoring, after a broad survey on related researches. The validated model and its corresponding study results can be referenced by organization managers and decision makers to make favorable tactics for achieving their goals of implementing employee monitoring.



This work was supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan, under contract number MOST-103-2221-E-005-050-MY2.


Chang, S.E., Liu, A.Y. and Lin, S. (2015), "Exploring privacy and trust for employee monitoring", Industrial Management & Data Systems, Vol. 115 No. 1, pp. 88-106.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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