Is Corporate IT a form of emotional abuse?
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Is Corporate IT a form of emotional abuse?

There's a government ad posted all over the insides of many brisbane buses at the moment, that describes some tell-tale signs of an abusive relationship.

I took a dodgy photo of it with my camera-phone, in order to try and get this idea across...

Can you see signs of abusive behaviour in your relationship?

In case you can't read it, here's what it says:


Can you see signs of abusive behaviour in your relationship?

Restricting where she goes...Monitoring her calls...Telling her what to wear...Controlling what she spends...

I think it's very easy to draw a parallel between each of these signs, and the behaviour of a typical Corporate (or Government) IT department.


Can you see signs of abusive behaviour in your relationship to the IT Department?

Abusive PartnerAbusive Corporation
Restricting where she goes...Internet site filtering
Monitoring her calls...Email monitoring and phone logging
Telling her what to wear...Standard Operating Environment, corporate desktop-background, corporate uniform.
Controlling what she spends...Tiny size limits on mailboxes, highly bureaucratic purchasing process,
draconian requisition restrictions and, worst of all, lousy pay.




'Dan F' on Wed, 22 Oct 2008 08:31:04 GMT, sez:

Deep man, deep. You're a thinker for our time lb



'Damian Hickey' on Wed, 22 Oct 2008 08:38:12 GMT, sez:

The only difference I can see is that the abusive corporation is paying me to, um, put up with the abuse.



'Suraj' on Wed, 22 Oct 2008 11:48:03 GMT, sez:

Tiny size limits on mailboxes
Whats up with that? I get a huge 10MB mailbox will fills up every other day sigh.



'Omer van Kloeten' on Wed, 22 Oct 2008 15:19:20 GMT, sez:

So true. In both cases you should just say "I quit!"



'Kmilo' on Wed, 22 Oct 2008 18:54:07 GMT, sez:

I will love the see at the finish of the ad: Restricting with who he have sex...



'Anthony Bouch' on Wed, 22 Oct 2008 20:51:37 GMT, sez:

In theory at least, good companies should have an information security policy (ala ISO/IEC 27000) as well as publish clear terms and conditions of employment along with an acceptable usage policy. What's more - they should make their monitoring and surveillance policy clear as well - which in the UK is strictly controlled under the DTI's Lawful Business Practices - which state clearly that the monitoring or surveillance of employees - especially private communication is NOT an automatic right of the employer.



'lb' on Wed, 22 Oct 2008 22:44:23 GMT, sez:

@Anthony -- very true.

@Omer, re: 'just say "I quit!"'

In theory that's the right answer -- but in practice I think emotional abuse lowers a person's ability to produce a rational response.

And systematic, sanctioned emotional abuse occurring in a corporate environment makes this much worse.

If a person is emotionally abused at home, and emotionally abused in the work place -- then she'll come to see it as normal. Won't even realize there is an alternative. ('Why quit here, the next company will be just as bad...' -- 'better the devil you know.' etc.)

Having said all that -- i think it's quite reasonable for a company to place restrictions on their facilities. They have to keep support costs down, maintain running systems etc. Doing it in an open, honest way is the key.

lb



'Joe' on Sat, 25 Oct 2008 12:38:11 GMT, sez:

a lot of guys wish their significant other would spend less on shoes, and son -- i don't think that makes them abusive.



'JonR' on Tue, 04 Nov 2008 06:46:53 GMT, sez:

what do you say to a sysadmin with two black eyes?

nothing, you've already told him twice.



'PaulR from Canada' on Sun, 07 Dec 2008 10:44:55 GMT, sez:

I am a business owner and the idea that employees' phones and emails are monitored is sound and reasonable. I have staff installing software despite signing agreements that they would not install software. Another person used 2 hours of my company time PER DAY to do his own personal spreadsheets and check Yahoo emails. To limit staff as to which sites they go to makes good sense. What reason would an employee have for going to Yahoo while they are working in my quality control department? Why should I not monitor my staff's cell phone usage if I am paying for their company cell phones and they are using the phones for personal usage? Until you own your own company, you are being one-sided in your position. The ad is offensive and ridiculous. Computers are company machines that open up business owners to liability. One company I know was fined $2 million dollars for an employee's indiscriminate use of the computer..How ridiculous is that?.....Trusting staff to use the computers and cell phones and email systems always for the company good is naive. Until the day comes that you personally pay for the losses and the damage and the wasted time of staff, it is literally impossible for you to appreciate the harm staff do to the bottom line. You can knock my opinion certainly but talk to other business owners and see their dilemma before endorsing this one-sided ad.



'Lee' on Wed, 24 Dec 2008 11:06:47 GMT, sez:

@PaulR

Yes, abusers always blame the victims of their abuse and you appear to be no different. You treat your employees the way you do because it's "their fault", because they "make" you treat them this way.

How about another perspective: You're a lousy manager. You've clearly hired the wrong kind of employees - who's fault is that? There are large, successful companies that don't have to employ the measures you choose to employ - maybe you're the one with the problem.



'Phil Weber' on Thu, 01 Jan 2009 20:29:52 GMT, sez:

@PaulR: Just to clarify, the ad was not referring to employer/employee relationships, it was about spouses/partners. It was Leon who made the comparison to corporate IT.



'Drug Rehab Programs' on Sun, 25 Jan 2009 18:02:19 GMT, sez:

I don't think that it has something to do with emotional abuse. Actually, I think that the mass media has a huge influences when it comes to this kind of things.




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