Abstract - The Information Society 10(2)

Mutual control in the newly integrated work environments

Jonathan P Allen

A model of mutual control is presented, derived from studies of detailed information sharing in manufacturing, that describes the likely changes in organizations due to the increased availability of electronic information about behavior. According to the model, increasing pressures for tighter monitoring and control come from a mutual access to, and dependence on, shared electronic information that can be linked to the behavior of identifiable individuals and groups. That the demands for greater monitoring and control come from all directions in organizations, not just upper management, is a finding that contrasts sharply with the traditional view of electronic surveillance and its concern with regulating managerial excess. The mutual control model shows how current systems design ideals, uncritically followed, contribute to the widespread demand for monitoring and tighter control within organizations.

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