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Ethics in the Virtual Workplace - Jonathan Miller

posted Sep 21, 2010, 11:16 AM by Jonathan Miller
Ethics in the Virtual Workplace...

The virtual workplace in a new phenomenon where people can literally work from home, and maintain a presence in a virtual workplace.  Many of us were first exposed to this concept in our behavior management course.  There are several ethical issues that come up when adopting a virtual workplace for your business.  The biggest one is honesty.  Without physically looking over someone's shoulder how can an employer be certain that an employee has done what they said they would, or is as far along in a project as they say they are?  Another issue is on a human quality level.  Many studies have suggested that people act differently in situations when there is not a direct cause and effect relationship between two individuals and their actions.  For example, Is it ethical to fire a person with out knowing their personal situation?  Is it too easy to screw over your boss because you don't have to see first hand how it will affect their business or how steam will come out of their ears?

There are several more issues that could be brought up around using a virtual workplace surrounding efficiency, trust and plagiarism.  I believe that the key to making a virtual workplace successful is to integrate significant communication outside the virtual workplace, and to include face to face time as well.  I believe that solely relying on the virtual workplace leads to too many problems, added costs and ethical issues. 

To learn more see the following articles...
http://www.pixelsandpolicy.com/pixels_and_policy/2010/03/ethical-dilemmas-virtual-workplaces.html
http://www.slis.indiana.edu/faculty/hrosenba/www/l574/pdf/cascio_virtual-workplace.pdf
http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.88.4646&rep=rep1&type=pdf

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