Junk-Mail Firm Straps GPS Devices To People Handing Out Pamphlets

from the how-low-can-you-go? dept

Down in Australia, a firm that hires teens to deliver junk-mail pamphlets to houses has decided to make their processes a bit more efficient by forcing the kids to wear a GPS device that records all their moves -- making sure they visit the houses they were assigned and do so in the order prescribed by the company. Some of the kids aren't particularly happy about being spied on this way, and apparently the company expected that. With the information pack about the GPS devices, they included a simple resignation form for those who weren't happy about the idea. Again, it seems like this is a modern attempt to bring back Taylorism, the idea that all workplace activities can be scientifically monitored and made more efficient -- as if people were machines. There's nothing wrong with working on ways to make employees more productive, but it needs to occur with the recognition that they're human beings and constantly spying on them and making them feel inadequate tends to hurt productivity more than it helps. It certainly doesn't make for particularly loyal employees. Perhaps that's fine for a business such as a junk-mail pamphleteer, but there is still a cost involved in hiring and training new people, while being able to fill in for those who quit. It's one of those things that sounds good to management (oooh, efficiency! productivity!) but whose consequences aren't carefully thought out. Of course, the firm responds to such charges by including the standard line that no one who is actually a good worker should be upset about being tracked, since it's only designed to spot the bad workers.

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  1. identicon
    Michael Long, 1 Nov 2006 @ 1:50am

    Re: Just in case you missed my point

    Sorry "humanist", but respect is not a fundamental human right. It is a condition that, for most, must be earned. You can demand my respect, but it can and will only be given to those who earn it.

    In much the same way, trust is also an earned condition, in that one trusts those who have, through their actions, demonstrated their trustworthiness. To blindy trust that a perfect stranger will act in your best interests and not their own is, to put it bluntly, naive.

    One has only to look at the "shrinkage" rates in a major store to realize that some customers, and some employees for that matter, do not deserve your trust. In a similar vein, I'd much prefer not to have to lock my business, my home or my car. Unfortunately, there are just enough people out there ready to take advantage of any opening given that doing so would be foolish.

    I'm sure the owner of the business in question would like to believe that all of his employees are honest. And I'm sure that he'd rather not spend the money needed to purchase and run the tracking system in the first place.

    But I'm also sure that experience has taught him otherwise.

    And finally, if you're one of those people who blindly "respects" and "trusts" anyone and everyone, then we need to talk, 'cause I've got this great little island for sale...

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