Formal Organizations and Personal Privacy, Essay Example
In the modern society, an increment in formal organizations and many entities run away from informal operations. Formal organizations have both advantages and disadvantages, which may affect the organization in different ways. With increased competition, organizations have developed stringent rules of infra-organization procedures and structures to follow and use to achieve goals and objectives. As the operations of the organization move away from the flexible to less flexible and stringent rules, formal organizations are born. The spread of formal organizations does not only increases efficiency and boosts sales, but also threatens personal privacy.
Undoubtedly, formal organizations are effective as compared to informal organizations. In formal organizations, the management structure tends to take a linear design. Effectively, each person has a well cut out responsibility and role to play. Unlike in informal organizations, persons working in formal organizations are held accountable to every action and tasks they handle. For such organizations, work is delegated to each individual and goals set on achievement of each. In most cases, such persons are compelled to put in greater efforts to achieve the set goals and meet the responsibilities under their docket. Even with bureaucracy, the need for monitoring the performance of the individual and their work creates a platform through which privacy of individuals working in such organization is kept on the lifeline.
In most cases when groups become informal, there is a tendency of the adaptation of bureaucratic structures of management. This is seen from an overall perspective as a factor, which supports or reduces the invasion of privacy of an individual. As seen, this is not really the case, as no organization has its structures limited to formality. Even in bureaucratic structures, negotiations have to be done between individuals, hence roping in some level of informality. This opens a fissure from which the privacy of an individual may be intruded. Researchers have indicated that even in formal organizations, agreements are usually made between individuals from different departments as staff tend shift from the rules and procedures set up by these organizations. In most cases, this takes place knowingly or unknowingly (Sims, 2002).
Formal organizations have to take up the Internet to bolster their operations and ensure high levels of efficiency are realized. Evidently, the Internet presets a greater challenge to these organizations in as far as usability is concerned. According to ComStore Networks, online sales in the United States have always reached their peak between 10:00 am and noon, underscoring the use of Internet for personal businesses during that time. Since organizations always want the Internet and its platforms used for organizations purposes alone, the need for surveillance and accountability cannot be underestimated. This is what forces many formal organizations to put in place security measures which accesses personal information of employees during the working hours they would spend on computers.
Individually, negotiated privacy is yet another aspect characterized with formal organizations. In formal organizations, managers and co-workers always seek to ensure that each person plays their role by remaining productive during their time at the work place. As seen, this is only being achieved when the privacy of the worker is acknowledged that one must have private time and engagements, whether they are in the work place or not. For instance, visiting the washroom or taking the lunch hour break can be defined as a negotiated private time (Turnbul & Canadian Privacy Institute, 2004). In most cases, formal organizations make workers susceptible to infringement on such privacy through total surveillance and stringent rules on usage of time. Workers may find it difficult explaining to managers the exact activity they undertook while out of their computer desks for a few minutes. In most cases, employees would excuse themselves by citing other issues, which may not really be the private affairs they had attended. This is all that accountability calls for in a formal organization setting.
Depersonalization of relationships of power and authority is very common in formal organizations. Formal organizations seek to enhance efficiency through taking away the platforms for trust, which is embedded in operations of informal organizations. Formal organizations tend to have systems which do not allow negotiated agreements and arrangements, rather, they tend to cast humans in doubt and to put all mechanisms in place to verify whether certain processes and procedures were done and the persons who did them.
Affirmative action on erosion of privacy with the growth of formal organizations is necessary. Whereas efficiency and effectiveness is needed at the organizational level, there is need to appreciate that infringement on the privacy of employees or workers make them demoralized and can even taint their image within the organization (Gilliland, Dirk & Steiner, 2007). The best way of dealing with this challenge in formal organizations is through giving some allowance for negotiated privacy. This will ensure that bureaucracy and stringent rules can be flexed as a matter of contingency to different situations that requires upholding of privacy of employees.
Gilliland, S., Dirk, D. (2007). Managing Social and Ethical Issues in Organizations, Research in social issues in management, New York, NY: IAP
Sims, R.R. (2002). Organizational Success through Effective Human Resources Management, London: Greenwood Publishing Group,
Turnbull, I.J., Canadian Privacy Institute (2004). Privacy in the Workplace: The Employment Perspective, Ottawa, OT: CCH Canadian Limited
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