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JISTEM - Journal of Information Systems and Technology Management

versão On-line ISSN 1807-1775

JISTEM J.Inf.Syst. Technol. Manag. vol.9 no.3 São Paulo set./dez. 2012 



Internet: monitored freedom



Fernando Kuschnaroff Contreras; Fatima Bayma de Oliveira; Evelyn Souto Martins

Getulio Vargas Foundation, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil





The Internet is a phenomenal research and information tool. It has entered the lives of people in an extremely fast way, offering a sense of freedom, and discoveries. This study presents the Internet usage in organizations, along with the use of equipment and information systems supplied by the employer and personal Internet usage at work. The subjects of the present research are businesspeople chosen among employees with a university degree in companies in the City of Curitiba, in the State of Paraná, with leading, managerial or operational occupations, with access to the Internet in their offices as well as at home. The study proposal consists of a critical analysis on the theme.

Keywords: Internet, Organizational Structures, Control, Punishment




Nowadays, the Internet is a powerful work tool. It provides fast communication, economy and cost reduction. However, it also creates insecurity and uncertainty, reason for enhancing research on the theme. Vitak, Crouse and La Rose (2011) center on individual behavior, personal Internet usage, and its applications.

Liberman, Seidman, McKenna and Buffardi (2011) examined employees' job attitudes, organizational characteristics, attitudes towards the personal use of the Internet and the reasons for it.

Saran and Zavarski (2009) studied the use of the Internet in organizations and concluded information security policy is essential to avoid deviations and guarantee organizational management.

Garrett and Danziger (2008) evaluated if personal Internet use had any relationship with the position occupied by employees as well as the incentives of each occupation.

Arnesen and Weis (2007) developed an extensive study evaluating the professional development of those using the Internet, the issue of monitoring employees and their e-mails, the organizational culture and the creation of an effective policy for the logical use of this new tool.

Whitty and Carr (2006) developed a proposal for employees' participation in organization policy for the use of the Internet as the best alternative against the incorrect use of this new working tool.

Lee, Lee and Kim (2004) deepened their research by trying to understand the reasons for personal Internet usage in the workplace.

Anandarajan and Simmers (2003) dedicated to understanding how work develops on the Web inside the organizations. With the purpose of maintaining control over the labor environment, organizations have been looking for adequacy and adaptation after the Internet came into existence. It is extremely relevant to identify innovative controlling methods, and alternatives to a better conviviality inside this new structure. Therefore, this study analyses the introduction and Internet usage in labor environments, evaluating relationships and types of control put into practice after the Internet implementation, and changes in people's lives and companies.

The Internet in Organizations

The Internet became a catalyst of modern business models, strategies and organizational structures. It introduced other factors affecting the competitive landscape, new rivalries and demands; innovations that many business leaders were not prepared to face. (Wallace, 2004, p. 2)

Increasing and permanent competition for markets and clients is a great concern resulting in internal tension among employees as they engage in activities towards objectives and corporate profits. Employees' performance is also evaluated according to established goals in budgets and strategic plans.

The great number of companies competing for the same public in the market, added to the need of perpetuating the capital in this environment, may lead to two very important facts: the permanent search for cost reduction and the need to boost productivity.

As for labor productivity, we observe that companies have adopted information systems available by personal computers for employees. This guarantees communication capability as well as the accomplishment of desired results. However, these measures changed the organizational environment considerably as, to maintain their positions in the company, people are forced tosubmit to and accept an increased amount of service and additional labor time, without any other benefits. To this respect, Wallace (2004, p.54) states that, in the backstage, NET technologies are helping to shape business environments in which working harder and for a longer period may be mandatory for some people and desirable by others.

According to Zuboff (1994, p.82): "administrators invest in new information technologies as they believe it will permit faster performance at a lower cost." This complies with this moment of market uncertainty, when it is fundamental to maintain competition and reduce operational costs to the most, as well as a guarantee the margins and financial return, letting the company go on with projects and investments.

A relevant aspect of environment organizations is information. It is used in corporations as an instrument for innovation, and the establishment of competitive differentials within a strategic. Configuration necessarily implies changes in structures and controls, as data may very easily flow over the network exposing the company to competitors, contributing to loss of competitiveness in the market.

Thus, employee surveillance has a new meaning: developing employee's activities using the Internet. In addition to productivity control, employees using the microelectronic tools are monitored, as well as communication with the market, during office hours. Corporate management has always monitored employees one way or another, but only for the sake of supervision itself. Hence, these new electronic tools allow greater management power and surveillance possibilities due to its high availability and simple implementation. (Wallace, 2004, p.222)

Considering productivity in the use of the Internet, another paradigm called "Cyberslacking," the use of company equipment for personal purposes, has also appeared (Vitak, Crouse and La Rose, 2011). "Cyberslacking" is a new risk for companies, as simple access to different sites may expose or make the system vulnerable, thus permitting virus or cyber espying.

Thus, a dilemma comes to light: company's success in the use of informatics, particularly the Internet, will depend on the actions adopted. On one hand, an extremely restrictive policy may lead to efficiency loss. On the other hand, greater freedom may lead to lack of control over employees who may lose focus on the job (for which he or she is hired), concentrating attention on received messages, and on various pages available on the Internet.

Employee and Hyperconnectivity

It is extremely important to consider employees' behavior in face of new technologies. Every year, innovations in communication and computing areas are launched in the market, overloading shelves.

This technology craze has also a dark side. Hyperconnectivity is a consequence in this new wave, as it has overcome all the existing barriers between companies, homes, and personal and professional lives. People's attitude toward connecting to the Internet, cell phones and computers all the time, in their offices, at home, or even during vacation periods is known as hyperconnectivity. Some pathological symptoms have already been observed, such as techno-anxiety, or "onlineaholics," that is, anxiety for being distant from devices and gadgets, or people addicted to the Internet virtual environment.

Hyperconnectivity results from a desperate search for information, sharing experiences, looking for acceptance and social interaction. People are absorbed by technology, developing compulsive behaviors towards innovations. This fascination explains the difficulty separating work from leisure.

People are committed to organizational intentions, and organizations bet on men's ability to perform different functions at the same time, known as multifunctionality. Some companies supply the equipment (notebooks and cell phones) so that employees may connect to the company and do their jobs at any time or weekday, or even at any place.

Companies value workaholics, recognizing they are more productive, competitive, and efficient, live for the company and are in search of objectives related to work, with a high level of personal performance. People with this behavior are rewarded and stimulated, reaching high-profile positions and jobs inside the organizations.

Workaholic employees turn into role models for companies that emphasize their performance. Success or personal achievement in the company structure is increasingly associated with prestige, status and power of command.

Considering control and acceptance of employees, those not complying with them are punished with economic impotence, extended to spiritual and individualist impotence. Excluded from the industrial activity, employees have their inadequacy easily proved (Adorno, and Horkheimer, 1985, p.110).

Thus, it is easy to understand individuals' bond to computers. It results from the need of maintaining their positions in the organizations, driving away the ghost of employee dismissal. On the other hand, as they maintain this bond to the equipment, they also develop an unhealthy attraction to it, together with the need for status, assurance and social acceptance by reference groups, positively affecting their self-esteem, as updated, modern and influential individuals.

The socio-cultural context overestimating performance and competence in the use of technologies reinforces and easily creates technological dependence, or net-dependence, as it is known nowadays. A basic and fundamental element favoring net-dependence is socialization and interpersonal communication, through chats, e-mails, forums and real-time conversations.

To affirm that individuals purchase objects (computers, cell phones, netbooks, and notebooks) for personal purposes and leisure is a misjudgment. Whenever employees get involved in the system, they are held under the influence of these items. Using them is also a guarantee of active survival inside the organizations.

Thus, attachment to new technologies, mainly computers and the Internet, may be the result of two singular powers: the need to maintain their jobs as a means of earning their living, and social affirmation of the individual. A leisure object becomes a working tool as well.

Controlled autonomy

An analysis about controlling codes and the process of obedience to the rules is also possible. As mentioned before, man accepts system rules owing to the need of survival, aspects of personal and material life transformations provided by the earnings from labor.

Taylor's and Ford's principles of labor were based upon dominant control. They used coercion and manipulation as predominant methods of control. Other systems of labor replaced these methods by a hegemonic mode of control using consent and legitimacy (Carvalho and Vieira, 2007, p.55).

This new model is founded on knowledge, skills, expertise, and competition between employees. In most organizations, two or more ways of control coexist, frequently, depending on adequacy to the kind of labor done in each subunit (Carvalho and Vieira, 2007, p.57).

Companies have adapted their structures aiming at productivity, agility and obviously better results changing to a flexible system.

The management system is dynamic: rules are not fixed, but modified, remodeled or eliminated so that new ones may replace them. Everything aims at a quick adaptation to reality and pace of market transformations in which companies act. Thus, the hard, rigid and fixed profile of old bureaucratic structures gave place to another bureaucratic structure requiring acceptance or commitment to its rules and procedures on the part of individuals.

Pagés et al. (2006, p.49) observed that system effectiveness did not depend on imposing it, but on acceptance by individuals affected by its application. This means individuals engage in the system, and they may also intervene in the conception according to their own aspirations.

At first, we might suppose employees take an enormous advantage in the process they are subjected to, as they may create rules or conditions. Notwithstanding, as it was observed by Pagés et al. (2006, p.51), employees are led to honor the rules which they are prone to adopt. Therefore, they may not oppose their own established rules.

The main aspect in this process is coherence. Situations permitting autonomy to individuals are the same in which they know they are not protected. The feeling is of confronting the organization even when serving it (Patés et al., 2006, p. 57).

Process of involving employees in establishing rules leads to respect and fear. Not complying with rules would be a total lack of coherence; therefore, a reason for distrust and breaking the code of conduct in face of other employees. They start to watch peers, as in flexible structures of production, employees are part of a "team" or "crew," in which everybody has established rules and agreed to respect them.

Agreeing to objectives is the key to labor relations. There is more freedom when employees submit to rules. Opposition between freedom and submission emerges, when the individual acknowledges complying with the game rules. This causes a fear of loss, as well as of going astray, and this means an anguished conscience of alienation (Pagés et al., 2006, p. 58).

Employees are invited to endorse game rules. They know the result is always organization performance. Everybody united in the pursuit of the same objectives, but with freedom to define ways to reach results.

Pagés et al. (2006, p. 61) assure objectives, and control applied to the rules are evaluated in financial terms. This purpose in the company translates into the importance of profit and expansion policy.

Technology makes the job easier, and captures employees' interest. If he or she does not comply with rules, the employee is submitted to punishment, according to rules agreed. As organizations assumed a supreme and divine entity, it reinforces on the individual a feeling of guilty in case of failure of the accomplishment of goals.

According to Carvalho and Vieira (2007, p. 20), the organization was deified taking the role of God. Therefore, by not fulfilling their role in the organization, individuals are disrespecting God, a sacrilege in a religious doctrine. Thus, employee's autonomy in the regime of flexible production is a consequence of a bureaucratic adaptation to the means of production to maintain control and achieve results.

Employees are invited to define the game and its rhythm, but submitted to increasingly ambitious results inside the organizations. This means they work harder to win the game whose result does not favor the individual, but the collective, as possible continuous losses for organizations may likely result in losing jobs or income.

Internet, privacy and the power of Organizations

At this point, we should emphasize and reflect on some aspects in the use of the Internet inside working environments, and issues related to privacy, damage and jurisdiction. Initially, examining the Universal Declaration of Human Rights established by the UN, on December 10th, 1948, basic human rights, expressed in Article 12:

no one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honor and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

In Brazil, the Federal Constitution of 1998, Article 5, specifies basic rights, in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It states in the Subsection 10 and 12 that:

the privacy, private life, honor and image of persons are inviolable, and the right to compensation for property or moral damages resulting from their violation is ensured;

the secrecy of correspondence and of telegraphic, data and telephone communications is inviolable, except, in the latter case, by court order, in the cases and in the manner established by law for the purposes of criminal investigation or criminal procedure finding of facts;

Derived from the above, it is assumed all citizens have their rights secured by Law. Notwithstanding, when companies started using the Internet for electronic communication, there was a violation of individuals' and employees' right to privacy on the part of the companies, claiming damage and loss to organizational structures.

Privacy is an individual guarantee. It may not, and it must not be violated by others or by any entity. It is secured by the Laws already mentioned. As a new tool of communication, the Internet creates a scenario of conflicts, outlined by companies attempts to control employees' activities. They aim at maintaining the level of productivity and profit by protecting the right to industrial property inserted in the data, information, and in the existing managerial reports inside companies' databases.

Therefore, for the entrepreneur, it is not enough to control employees with internal surveillance cameras or access badges, but through communication nets implemented as a productivity tool, as well. However, employee's electronic surveillance has been illegally used by companies, and many times without their awareness or consent. According to Saran and Zavarsky (2009, p. 371), Internet usage and network traffic policies allow using e-mails, and the Internet, without any harm, providing greater employees' confidence and commitment.

For sure, the entrepreneur has the right to guarantee patrimony security. And this comprises physical patrimony, such as machines, equipment and other fixed assets and inventories, and intangible assets such as strategic information, as well. According to specialists and jurists' worldwide, the entrepreneur has the right to control the quality of work, the use of instruments, implement security measures for employees' occupational safety, and avoid unfair practices, such as frauds, financial and material misappropriations, sexual abuse or even industrial espionage.

The entrepreneur has also the right to establish rules of conduct, norms and procedures to accomplish tasks. The aim is to guarantee the organizational efficiency longed by stakeholders, as they undertake the risks of production secured by the Brazilian Consolidation of Labor Laws (CLT), in accordance to Decree-Law 5452/May 1st, 1943. Labor Laws allow the entrepreneur to dismiss an employee who fails to follow the rules established in the CLT, Title VI, Chapter V, Termination, Article 482.

However, the entrepreneur exceeds controls previously made by people, and rules by using electronic mailing surveillance. They violate employees' individual rights, individuality, and privacy before detecting any damage caused by an employee during working hours. They exceed control simply based on a remote possibility of a system threat caused by employees' machine usage.

Violation of correspondence is also established by the Brazilian Criminal Code, Article 151: "wrongfully violating the content of sealed correspondence addressed to another person." According to the Law, the person responsible for such an act would be subjected to 1 (one) to 6 (six) months detention, or a fine.

However, in spite of the labor relationship agreed between employer and employee, the labor contract may never give the employer the right to go beyond of employees' or individuals' legal and constitutional rights. Even to justify the act as company preservation.

We must restate the first transgression, the primary illegal act in the use of the Internet tool, is done by entrepreneurs when disrespecting employee's privacy, and not the opposite. Thus, according to Law, crime would be the violation of electronic mailing. As "cyberslacking" or the use of company equipment for personal purposes is not-established by jurisprudence. Accessing the net by curiosity or even leisure is not a crime.

Brazilian legislation and international laws, as well, are still extremely contradictory on this issue. In Brazil, we are yet elaborating Projects and discussing legal aspects. Thus, considerations must not be unilateral, giving priority to entrepreneurs, not even after investing in company construction, and equipment for internal usage. Even if an entrepreneur suspects employees are not accomplishing tasks accordingly, it must be emphasized the fact that the Internet usage increases employees working load. They carry out their tasks beyond typical office hours, at home, using the Internet for this purpose without receiving any additional payment. This contradicts the norms established by the CLT.

Companies have implemented restrictive measures, control and security policies to restrict personal Internet usage during office hours, but they have noticed a negative effect on productivity in doing so.

Garrett and Danziger (2008, p. 953) suggest thinking about the personal use of the Internet during office hours, not only as threatening to the company, but as an attractive functionality offered to the accomplishment of the work itself.

Another issue is that employees' dismissal may increase the level of turnover, reducing employees' morale and motivation, creating legal troubles such as sexual harassment, resulting in huge financial losses to the company (Young and Case, 2004, p. 106).

The use of organizational policies for correct Internet usage may be inestimable to avoid improper use by employees, and interfere with productivity (Arnessen and Weiss, 2007, p. 53). Thus, more than ever, organizations are challenged to enhance normative and functional structures creating a conformity policy to the use of the Internet in the working environment, in an unrestrictive and unpunished way, changing the Internet into a helpful tool and not simply a risk to productivity (Sanran and Zavarsky, 2009, p. 372).

Distrust process or control in excess may undermine the individual response of each employee. Mahatanankoon (2006, p. 17) pointed out that, in the office, stress, injustice, lack of appraisal, uncertainty, and disaffection are extremely more harmful to organizations. These also cause an increasing loss in productivity than simple Internet usage during office hours. He suggests employees must be motivated to search for additional productivity, especially by using the Internet as a working tool. This means huge changes in the company view and that of the employee.

The Internet has created additional possibilities for distraction, mainly for its characteristic of an open net linked to millions of computers and pages of different configurations. For Robbins (2004, p.211), "if work itself is not interesting or causes excessive stress, employees are motivated to do something else".

Garrett and Danziger (2008, p. 952) concluded that a great majority of employees access the Internet in the companies for personal reasons, and during office hours (cyberslacking). Though they observed productivity loss, they found no signs of hostility or intentional harmful purposes in their behaviors. This means there is no intention on the part of employees to cause losses to the organizations.

Robbins (2008, p. 7) reports employers consider surveillance, and control over employees necessary. This way, it is possible to verify if employees are really working or messing around or disclosing organization's secrets. It also aims at protecting employees from likely harassment or hostile environments against women or minority groups.

Therefore, it is fundamental for employees to be conscious that misuse of working tools may generate damages, many times of an elevate cost and irreparable harm to the internal information system of an organization. This is considered an illegal act by the CLT, and the Criminal Code. Employers must also stop breaking the law, by monitoring and violating employees' e-mails, an act that disrespects the Brazilian Constitution, Human Rights, the Civil Code, and the CLT, as they fail to compensate employees for their extra work.



In the present study, the group of respondents is composed by men and women from Class A and B who own notebooks and desktop computers, employed by large and medium-sized companies in the State of Paraná, in the South of Brazil, with a university degree, occupying operational and leading/managerial positions. All in all, 305 respondents answered the survey instrument, between January and April, 2008. The focus was on the sample profile described above to evaluate executives' behavior in large companies, mainly using technology in their daily working routine.

Results are reported with descriptive statistics through absolute and relative distribution (n - %). Chi-square test method for bivariate analysis among qualitative variables (χ2) was used to establish comparisons among frequencies (real) observed and expected, as well as the analysis of adjusted residuals. Negative values in adjusted residuals indicate a real frequency, lower than the expected, and positive values indicate a real frequency higher the expected. The cells, in which adjusted residuals values are equal or higher than 1.96, in absolute value, contribute significantly to mutual dependence of compared variables (Everitt, 1991). In contingency tables, in which at least 25% of cell values present an expected frequency lower than 5, Fisher's Exact test was used, but on occasions when at least one variable is polytomous, Monte Carlo simulation method was used.

We also looked for identifying a pattern behavior between men and women, considering working position levels. The extended Mantel-Haenszel Test (Chi-Squared Test with degrees of freedom), was used to for analyzing tables 2 x r when the answer is ordinal. This extension involves medium scores for the response and uses the differences between these scores for the calculation of satisfactory test statistics.



Companies are using portable tools (notebooks) as they are easy to carry and wireless access to the Internet is easy as well. In the researched public, 79.7% received equipment from the companies. More frequently, men are those who received portable equipment (notebooks) for working and accessing the Internet for professional purposes on weekends, and outside office hours. No more than 21% of the women had the same advantage. After companies started using the Internet, 80.6% of the public researched observed an increase of daily working hours.

Companies started using new ways of controlling and monitoring employees, mainly when working via the Internet. Among the people interviewed, 79.7% sensed an increase in surveillance and control over their work.

Evaluating the relationship between the "feeling of control over work" and "gender," no important association was identified. This reveals that the feeling of control over work sensed inside the organizations does not depend on gender for this sample (p>0.05). However, when "position" was compared with the "feeling about control over work," a significant difference came to light (p<0.05), indicating those in administrative/direction positions investigated sensed a feeling of less control, while those in operational positions suffered more control. For supervision/leading and technical positions, the test showed the analysis of adjusted residuals pointed to a tendency of significant association with the feeling of more control over work. When we study the issue of e-mail surveillance related to "positions" or "gender," the association with control was restricted to the masculine (p<0.001), as in the feminine there was no relevant evidence.

When we associate controls to avoid navigating non-authorized sites during office hours with sex and gender, no significant statistic association (p>0.05) was detected. This indicates that an application of Internet navigation controls in the organizations does not depend on user's position (χ2 Calc = 13.439; p=0.278) or gender (χ2 Calc = 7.755; p=0.100).

It was also observed (90.2%) that nowadays companies use electronic surveillance. E-mails sent and received are constantly monitored, and information technology sectors created mechanisms to track suspicious e-mails, where secret information or even corporation data may be circulating.

The Internet presents risks according to the employees interviewed. However, 92.5% of this public assured its correct use provides more gains of productivity, efficiency and efficacy. They sensed this improvement in their own functional performance. We observed a strong association between productivity and the Internet usage as employees work more, including outside office hours (p<0.001). As productivity and workload, because of the Internet usage, are classified as ordinal variables, a concordance analysis using Spearman's rank-order correlation coefficient was applied. It pointed out a significant correlation, positive in a moderate degree (r=0.531; p=<0.001), indicating that high scores in productivity are correlated with high scores in the evaluation of the Internet usage as a way of increasing workload. Employees consider this gain in productivity as an advantage for both organization and employee. Nowadays, they are benefitting from this gain by profit sharing promoted by many organizations. Thus, in spite of the observed risks, controlled Internet grants organizations excellent results in reducing operational costs, as well as speed.

Correlation between e-mail surveillance and productivity gains with the Internet as a working tool is an important aspect. Statistics association was significant (0<0.01). Employees who totally or partially agreed with productivity gains also agreed that the company usually monitors Inbox and Outbox. E-mail surveillance with change in the number of activities performed, and the number of hours worked are also positively related (χ2 Calc = 30.567; p˂0.01) as well. The group that totally agreed with e-mail surveillance showed significantly (χ2 Calc =34.192; p˂0.01) inclined to agree with the use of the Internet as a tool to improve efficiency and effectiveness.

We tried to establish continuity correlation using Pearson's Chi-square by relating those who work beyond normal office hours with those who do not accept punishment against Cyberslacking. No significant (χ2 Calc = 0.195; p=0.659) association was detected. This means most people who reported working beyond normal office hours are different from those who disagree with punishment against Cyberslacking. Next, we studied if men and women agree with punishment for incorrect use of equipment, in accordance with their position in the company. Results did not permit asserting whether there is an agreement with punishment directly associated with working positions (Qsm= 0.05274 and p-value = 0.8184).

In the research, we tried to identify a gender distinction in relation to changes in the rules of control over work. However, associations statistically significant were not detected (p>0.05). Therefore, in the studied sample, showing agreement or disagreement does not depend on position or gender. When stratified by positions, in jobs related to direction/executive, and supervision, only the masculine gender showed a tendency toward partial agreement or impartiality about changes in the norms and rules of conduct. It was also observed that men in operational jobs were totally inclined to agree with changes.

We tried to find out any association between routine changes and working processes with efficiency and efficacy. However, we did not detect associations statistically significant (p>0.05). Thus, we found no evidence that men and women presented different opinions towards changes the Internet has created in the work environment, as well as about their opinion about efficiency with the Internet usage.

When we applied the Mantel-Haenszel extended test to identify a feeling of dependence on the Internet, among men and women, according to occupation, we concluded that a strong tendency (Qsm = 54.1420, and p-value = 0.0001) of dependence on the Internet for men, and women, is related to their occupation. Thus, dependence on the tool increases as occupation and salary are higher.

Considering the feeling towards the number of hours worked, men and women observed different feelings according to their respective occupations and increase in the number of worked hours caused by the Internet (Qsm = 8.3192 and p-value = 0.0039). Men in managerial occupations are working extra hours outside normal working environments. It was observed that 62% of the researched public works at home two to three additional hours per week.

We also identified a relationship between the position occupied and gender with the use of company equipment for personal purposes. Men and women who occupy supervising, leading and technical positions are those who use the company machines this way. They also noticed an increase in the number of office hours (Qsm = 45.1961 and p-value = 0.0001).



Companies have offered portable computers easily carried for use in different places by their employees, who use the equipment with access to the Internet at home beyond office hours, and during leisure time. People confirmed working beyond normal office hours in the company environment. Thus, employees perform tasks and other types of activities linked to their work, at different hours, without enjoying leisure dedicating all time to the company.

Employees accept this situation by fear of something worse, such as unemployment and purchasing power losses that interfere with their status quo. Employees notice a greater control over equipment with access to the Internet, chiefly over means of communication used in the office. They agreed that some measures were necessary, mainly to defend organization's database, protecting information as well as avoiding the use of company equipment for private purposes during office hours.

They believe disciplinary measures are necessary to avoid abuse in the use of working tools, mainly punishment for incorrect use of machines representing risks for labor environment dignity and morale, as well as obvious risks to the system. Employees acknowledge the Internet functionality and consider controlled use might generate more gains than risks. Therefore, they agree to be submitted to the rules of organizational surveillance.

Employees confirmed that companies had improvements in their results (profits) with the operational cost decline derived from productivity gains, through efficiency and efficacy brought by technology, and by the Internet.

As an instrument of internal use of the organization, and also subject to risks, employees regard surveillance as necessary, though they have some restrictions towards surveillance ethics.



Technological advances implemented in organizations and the introduction of new working tools such as the Internet provide a notable increase in workload and office hours, as well as in searching for productivity and changes in employees' behavior. Immersed in routines, and gains, in their job positions, employees are working more hours and becoming more dependent on equipment and technology.

One change easily noticed in organizational structures among others caused by the Internet are managerial controls, not directly performed by managers and supervisors, but by electronic means. It breaks a straight relationship pattern between superiors and subordinates.

The Internet usage in corporate environments is an irreversible process, and ways of punishment implemented by the companies are validated by employees. Thus, monitoring was facilitated and punishment naturally accepted. The use of corporate computers for personal purposes inside the company is regarded by the group as an inadvisable and dangerous attitude. Though, many employees wish to do it during office hours.

We assume this employees' attitude represents an escape from routine. However, recent studies by Garrett and Danziger (2008) suggested work dissatisfaction factors in the office, and stress, are not directly correlated with free Internet navigation during office hours. Saran and Zavarsky (2009) did not come to definitive data in their study to make assumptions on the motivational factors of behavior, suggesting an additional study to accomplish a conclusive explaination model. Our research also recommends other and more profound psychological studies to determine accurately impulses motivating such behavior by employees.



We suggest new studies on individuals' behavior toward cyberslacking, employee's privacy and use of communication means offered by organizations. We also suggest searching in organizations and labor unions for a consensus to assist legislators in the elaboration of relevant labor laws.

The organizational dilemma of the future is to balance information systems and workers' control and monitoring with efficiency and operational efficacy. Generations of executives born in the 1960s and 1970s were familiar with organizational structures following Ford's models. They witnessed the transition to a flexible regime of production with the use of technology based on microelectronics. These generations lived inside hierarchic and vertical structures with rigid bureaucratic rules and strict discipline.

Generations born in the 1980s and 1990s found a fresh organizational design early in their careers. They were born during the information era and before long had contact with the Internet and its conveniences. They are less susceptible to rigid controls and direct surveillance. Thus, an evaluation of new organizational structures must be done. They must be tailored and flexible to guarantee maximum productivity, and benefit from the latest profiles of competence.



In Brazil, studies on Information Technology and Communication are recent. Major surveys were conducted by the Internet Management Committee, created in 2005. It is necessary to extend studies about cyberslacking, mainly in more mature organizations, correlating older and younger public recently hired.



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Fernando Kuschnaroff Contreras
Mestre em Gestão Empresarial - EBAPE/FGV
Prof. dos Cursos de MBA e Graduação da Ebape FGV Fundação Getulio Vargas
Av. Pres. Affonso Camargo, 2491
Curitiba, Parana, Brasil
Tel/Fax: (41) 3016-8983

Fatima Bayma de Oliveira
Mestre em Administração Pública
University of Connecticut, Doutorada em Educação
Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro
Prof. Titular dos cursos de Doutorado, Mestrado
Pós-graduação e Graduação da Ebape e UFRJ
Fundação Getulio Vargas
Praia de Botafogo, 190 RJ, Brasil
Tel/Fax: (21) 3799-5768

Evelyn Souto Martins
Mestre em Gestão Empresarial - EBAPE/FGV
Fundação Getulio Vargas
Praia de Botafogo, 190 RJ, Brasil
Tel/Fax: (21) 3799-5768

Manuscript first received 12/11/2010
Manuscript accepted 10/07/2012

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