Employee stress and health complaints in jobs with and without electronic performance monitoring

Appl Ergon. 1992 Feb;23(1):17-27. doi: 10.1016/0003-6870(92)90006-h.


Current applications of electronic performance monitoring based on job design theories that consider worker performance rather than stress issues are likely to generate unsatisfying and stressful jobs (Smith et al, 1986). This study examines critical job design elements that could influence worker stress responses in an electronic monitoring context. A questionnaire survey of employees in telecommunications companies representative of each region in the United States examined job stress in directory assistance, service representative and clerical jobs with specific emphasis on the influence of electronic monitoring of job performance, satisfaction and employee health. Useable surveys were received from 745 employees representing seven operating companies and AT & T; a response rate of about 25%. The results of this survey indicated that employees who had their performance electronically monitored perceived their working conditions as more stressful, and reported higher levels of job boredom, psychological tension, anxiety, depression, anger, health complaints and fatigue. It is postulated that these effects may be related to changes in job design due to electronic performance monitoring.