HCBE Faculty Articles

Title

Employee Privacy Issues of the Early 20th Century: 1900 through Hawthorne Studies

Document Type

Article

Date

1-1-2004

Publication Title

Journal of Applied Management and Entrepreneurship

ISSN or ISBN

1077-1158

Volume

9

Issue

1

First Page

94

Last Page

100

Description

As the nature of the workplace and employment patterns changed in the beginning of the 20th century, new approaches to managing people and work emerged. Two schools of thought developed in North America: Scientific Management and Human Relations. In examining practices under each approach, we can observe a disregard for employee privacy as seen through the sensibilities of our own time despite concerns expressed at that time by observers such as Louis Brandeis. Under the Scientific Management movement, as seen in examples from the work of Frederick Taylor, Joseph Feiss, Mary Gilson, and Henry Ford, we note a disregard for employee privacy and a failure to differentiate employees' private lives from their obligations to the workplace. In the Human Relations approach we note a similar disregard for employee privacy in the collection of data and its accessibility by the public.

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