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Survey Says Bosses Fear Being Filmed By Employees 159

Posted by timothy
from the it's-attaching-the-mic-that's-tricky dept.
New submitter Cazekiel writes "If you think your boss is a fearless, miserable beast whose only worries lie in how well his company or business competes, think again. The 'Business Video Behavior Project' survey conducted by Qumu reveals that those in-charge are growing more and more paranoid about something the Average Joe fears just walking down the street nowadays: employees who will 'secretly film him with his metaphorical pants down and then post the footage for public delectation.' It would seem that it doesn't matter if you're powerful, wealthy and lording over hundreds of cubicles; they know the internet exists, everyone has a cell phone camera and thick wallets don't make discarded banana peels magically move out of their path." The company that paid for the study, note, promises to "securely distribute business video simultaneously over multiple Edge routes," so they probably don't mind some workplace paranoia.
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Survey Says Bosses Fear Being Filmed By Employees

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  • I have an idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Psychotria (953670) on Monday April 09, 2012 @08:16AM (#39617695)

    No, he's scared you might use your new technological tools to make naughty videos -- the worst of which would be to secretly film him with his metaphorical pants down and then post the footage for public delectation.

    My brilliant idea is that if you're a boss BEHAVE APPROPRIATELY, ethically and fairly. It's not that hard.

    • Re:I have an idea (Score:4, Informative)

      by furytrader (1512517) on Monday April 09, 2012 @08:19AM (#39617711)
      That's Business Ethics 101 - if you're doing something at work that you wouldn't want posted on the front page of the local newspapers, don't do it.
      • That's Business Ethics 101 - if you're doing something at work that you wouldn't want posted on the front page of the local newspapers, don't do it.

        That's true. But if TFA is to be believed maybe they skipped that class :-)

      • Re:I have an idea (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jellomizer (103300) on Monday April 09, 2012 @09:23AM (#39618081)
        Business ethics gets very complicated very quickly.

        Here is an example. Your job is to sell your product to a foreign country (You sell a good product at a good price). In this country offering bribes is common and legal, however it is considered immoral and illegal for you and your culture and country to offer the bribes. So you go to the business deal the the owner says, you are offering a fine offer however what is in it for me (wink, wink).

        Do you.
        1. Turn down the bribe and loose the business.
        2. Offer the bribe and hope they don't find out.
        3. Offer to close the deal near your headquarters in Orlando Florida, and give him prepaid tickets and cover expenses (and his family who should be leaving his side) to come to headquarters to fill out the deal.

        The problem is the more diverse set of people you meet the more muddy ethics get.
        • Re:I have an idea (Score:5, Insightful)

          by kelemvor4 (1980226) on Monday April 09, 2012 @09:57AM (#39618315)

          Business ethics gets very complicated very quickly. Here is an example. Your job is to sell your product to a foreign country (You sell a good product at a good price). In this country offering bribes is common and legal, however it is considered immoral and illegal for you and your culture and country to offer the bribes. So you go to the business deal the the owner says, you are offering a fine offer however what is in it for me (wink, wink). Do you. 1. Turn down the bribe and loose the business. 2. Offer the bribe and hope they don't find out. 3. Offer to close the deal near your headquarters in Orlando Florida, and give him prepaid tickets and cover expenses (and his family who should be leaving his side) to come to headquarters to fill out the deal. The problem is the more diverse set of people you meet the more muddy ethics get.

          It only seems complicated because (most?) businesspeople think there are a separate set of rules just for them. Hence the fact that the term "business ethics" even exists. Option 1 is the correct answer.

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            Option 1 is not necessarily the best answer. It could be argued that Option 1 is the worst answer, ethically, because you're not even trying to come up with a solution for all parties involved (including yourself); you're simply avoiding deeper thought about the decision to help only yourself.

            Option 3 seems like the best compromise, all around, and if the company is willing to bring the client and family out for a visit (which happens all the time), the option of showing him OUR culture opens up. This
            • by cdrguru (88047)

              Unfortunately, what you are proposing is that US rules are better. Why? Why isn't "grease" an acceptable answer? It has worked in many cultures for longer than the US has been in existance.

              Maybe it doesn't work well in the US, which is fine. But it is difficult to say it should not work in China or Saudi Arabia because ... well, just because. Because it is wrong in the US isn't an answer for everyone else.

              Now, the specific idea of bribing people to do business with you is certainly in effect strongly i

              • Nah, not really what I was trying to say here. I'm actually more on your side with this; the point I was trying to make is that all the folks saying "Option 1, cut and dry!" aren't really thinking the situation through. They are ignoring the many reasons to want to fly a client to your location, and there are also plenty of reasons to fly yourself out and see them (you just pointed out several great reasons for doing both).

                It's less about a cultural pissing contest and more about establishing a relati
              • Now, the specific idea of bribing people to do business with you is certainly in effect strongly in the US today. What do you think a coupon is, anyway? How about the offer of "buy $5000 in furniture and get a free TV."

                Those aren't bribes. Bribery is when you are paying a decision-maker for another entity.

                Buyer "A" approaches Seller "B". In your examples, "B" gives a little extra to "A" to close the deal. There is no ethical issue here.

                With bribery, you have Agent "A" for Buyer "C" approaching Seller "

              • by sjames (1099)

                Even in countries where it is common, "grease" is still called corruption. Growing numbers of people in at least some of those cultures recognize that it doesn't really "work". In other words, it's not culture, it's prevalent crime. Any apparent dilemma is due to a faulty premise. That's the moral hazard of relativism.

                A coupon isn't a bribe since the benefit accrues to the payer. A kickback is corruption because the agent personally benefits to the detriment of his employer (often the people).

            • by s73v3r (963317)

              If someone is insisting that I behave unethically, especially after I've explained my situation to them, then they are not worth appeasing. Clearly they have no interest in meeting me halfway, and if they are pushing for unethical behavior up front, who knows what kind of unethical behavior they will employ during the length of the business relationship?

              • Well, yes, I agree with this completely, and for the very reasons you point out, option 2 is a horrible and just plain wrong solution. My point was simply that I don't see anything unethical about flying a client (and his family) to meet with me in the first place, any more than I see a trip to the golf course or a business lunch as unethical. I've been on both sides of that particular "bribe" and I've said "no" just as often as I've said "yes" on both sides of the table (sadly, my clients typically say "
              • by sjames (1099)

                Especially once you have handed them such juicy extortion material.

          • My grandfather was a senior executive at a large electronics company doing business in Saudi Arabia. He faced this precise dilemma. He opted for option #1, lost his company a big contract, and was then moved to a more-engineering and less-management position. His replacement presumably paid the bribe (baksheesh), given that his replacement became a vice president.

            In Saudi culture baksheesh is NORMAL and EXPECTED. They think the Americans are weird immoral for not doing things that way.

          • by Solandri (704621)

            It only seems complicated because (most?) businesspeople think there are a separate set of rules just for them. Hence the fact that the term "business ethics" even exists. Option 1 is the correct answer.

            And this is exactly why corruption grows. People like you insist on option 1, no compromises. Consequently the ethical companies go out of business, leaving only unethical companies around, and the circle of corruption grows worse.

            The correct answer is option 3. Offer something of similar value to a b

        • by Stu101 (1031686)

          If you work for a large company, even the IT guys have to abide by the FOCA act https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_Corrupt_Practices_Act [wikipedia.org]. We spend days (Seriously) learning what we can and cant do, even though we are IT. We don't even speak to customers, sell anything or buy anything and we have it 24/7!

          If you get caught, worrying about your employees is the last thing you will be doing.

        • by Patch86 (1465427)

          Option 1. That's how ethics work- you do the right thing even if it isn't the most profitable or convenient thing to do. If the most ethical option were the most profitable and convenient, you wouldn't need a code of ethics anyway.

          If it were customary in some country to murder a dozen orphans to celebrate closing a deal, while it is obviously illegal (and considered somewhat unethical) to do so in your country, you opt for Option 1- you don't do it. Justifying doing it in order to make more money is the abs

          • Maybe I totally missed what's wrong with Option 3 then. Sure, it seemed packaged to resemble a hidden bribe, but flying foreign contacts into the country to conduct business happens near-daily at all the companies I've worked for that have a foreign presence. By your logic, fronting the cash to set up a video-conference is just as unethical. Perhaps the offer to bring the family with is the issue people are making, but I don't see how it's any worse; having the client's family see the local area facilit
            • by s73v3r (963317)

              it's about doing your fuckin job, which, in sales, is to make and maintain as many relationships as you can.

              If "doing your fuckin job" requires you to do unethical things on a regular basis, then you are a terrible person.

              • Of course you are. But you're missing the point. Spending money to accomplish business-related activities (the specific example given is flying the client to Orlando to meet with you) isn't unethical in the first place.

                Apparently I should have argued with my mod points instead of my words, for this is NOT going well. (new sig? hmm)
            • by sjames (1099)

              The original question is structured so that option 3 appears to be just a bribe wrapped in sugar coating. 3 would be fine if it was going to happen even if a bribe was not requested and both parties HONESTLY believed it's primary purpose was to foster better communication. A good test there is would the offer still have been made and accepted if the corporate headquarters was in east nowheresville where they roll up the sidewalks at 4P.M.. If it is offered because of the bribe request, then it is a bribe.

              T

              • I suppose it depends on how the bribe was requested and subsequently turned down. Option 1 and option 3 are not mutually exclusive (unless you turned down the bribe in such a fashion you've already lost business, in which case you're a poor negotiator).

                For a less corporate-y example, I deal with situations all the time where someone wants me to make them free prints as "samples" before they'll purchase from me. They've seen my work, they don't need samples of it to know it's good. Rather than give the
                • by sjames (1099)

                  Of course you don't feel bad about it. They are the actual paying customer, not merely an agent. They're not asking for a bribe and you're not giving them one. They're asking you to sweeten the deal a bit and you're making a counter offer that they accept.

                  A bribe would be if the customer was a representative of a company that wanted you to make 'sample prints' of their kid's birthday party. It becomes quite clear if they then accept your inferior offer (or if they reject your superior offer in favor of the

                  • That's fair. It's the point I missed; it is definitely a bribe to offer the representative a "personal solid" (as in, fly a dude's family to DisneyWorld) in exchange for his ability to coerce the company's co-operation versus offering the company a "corporate solid" (as in flying their representative to my headquarters in Orlando).

                    I guess what makes the difference, to me, is whether both companies are aware of and have sanctioned the "solid", and whether it is a vehicle to move business forward. The "p
                    • by sjames (1099)

                      Yes, it gets a little fuzzier once the blatantly illegal (or at least termination offenses) get removed.

                      I suspect the best test there is how the parties feel about it if the dinner happens and the deal doesn't. If the person who picked up the tab feels ripped off, it was a bribe. If the dinner guest now feels obligated, it was a bribe. It's one of those things where the people involved can probably figure it out if they reflect honestly upon it, but proving it would be nearly impossible.

                      In any event, yes, t

        • by s73v3r (963317)

          So you're saying your ethics should change depending on where you are? Then those ethics were not very deeply instilled in you to start with.

        • by sjames (1099)

          Ethically speaking, 1 is the only correct answer. Any other answer leads inexorably to your own culture becoming corrupt..

      • by sjames (1099)

        In the MBA track, that class is AKA "comic relief".

        Then they go to the serious class about how to commit atrocities and keep it out of the press.

    • by garcia (6573)

      I'm a supervisor. If my employees video me at work they're going to show the world that I use Putty and Chrome to get a more-than-occasional peek at Slashdot or Twitter.

      As long as they are getting their work done to my expectations and especially the expectations of the customer, they can pretty much do what they want as well.

      So why would I care that they video me and why would they want to in the first place? Are supervisors really that unethical and misbehaving so often that this is really a concern?

      • Re:I have an idea (Score:4, Insightful)

        by tophermeyer (1573841) on Monday April 09, 2012 @09:20AM (#39618065)
        I think my concern would be that someone is trying to collect video of me that, out of context, puts me in a bad light. I say this because I once had a junior employee (not a direct report) try to throw me under the bus for one of his mistakes by presenting an email that appeared to show me giving him specific directions. It was dumb because, you know email. But without context it might be difficult to defend yourself from false allegations.
      • Some bosses, really get out of the professional category. When the S**t hits the fan they just don't know what to do. They will just start yelling and making crazy threats and become insane. The things with middle managers is they are directly targeted. If they don't get promoted to upper management in a few years, they need to leave and find an other job, else when there is a company reorg they will be the first to go.
      • Well you, sir, are obviously happen with what your naughty bits look like. Good for you! The rest of us supervisors are terrified.
      • by cdrguru (88047)

        Unethical or bad behavior is not the point. Comedy is the point - making someone look like a fool. So you walk into the office and trip over something and end up with coffee on your shirt. Expect it to be on YouTube within the hour.

        Some people think this is funny and the new explosion of camera phones and web services make it possible for these people to illustrate to others the humor (?) they find in the office and on the street. Maybe recording people in bars are good for a few laughs as well. Ever g

      • by StikyPad (445176)

        That sounds a lot like the "nothing to hide, nothing to fear" argument.

      • by sjames (1099)

        As an ethical manager, you have few worries about your behavior being reported.

        Are supervisors really that unethical and misbehaving so often that this is really a concern?

        Yes, it's rampant.

    • by mobby_6kl (668092)

      My brilliant idea is that if you're a boss BEHAVE APPROPRIATELY, ethically and fairly. It's not that hard.

      There are many appropriate, ethical, and fair things one can talk about or do with employees, but that are nevertheless not intended for public distribution. However, people who break confidentiality without (the intention of) exposing something illegal can be disciplined or fired anyway, so yeah, following that suggestion is a good way to avoid embarrassment.

    • by houghi (78078)

      It is forbidden to film where I am. They do not film us, so why would we film them? I have no desire to do so, nor have I heard of anybody else having that desire.

      But then I live in Communist Europe where we tend to not have cubicles and instead can directly communicate with our boss and anybody else.

      Sure, there are bosses who are complete assholes, but I am sure that there are employees who are complete assholes and the percentage is not that different. That includes CEOs of pretty large companies as well

    • But only if people would stop being hypocrites and decide that the things they do themselves are appropriate for others to do.

      You can do nothing legally, morally, or ethically wrong at work and still not want to be filmed because you still can do things that people will hate on you for or make fun of you because.

      Like maybe when you listen to music, you rock out and dance in your chair. You don't even know you do this, but you do. Suddenly there's a video of it online and people mock you for it, including pe

      • by cdrguru (88047)

        Really old example of this: Jetson's cartoon where Mr. Spacely brings in a new robot for the office. Robot tapes everything George says and selectively plays back stuff to Mr. Spacely that is "colorful". Sounds remarkably like the office culture has finally caught up to 1960s cartoons.

        Can you think if the response when at some ungarded moment you say something about your boss that is perhaps unflattering? And then have the video of that moment posted for all to see or sent around to all employees?

    • by robmv (855035)

      I extend that to "If you are a human being...."

    • Easier said then done. That said they should have company policies that would allow employees to record their boss with out them knowing... To keep them honest. What often happens some Middle Manager gets a big head, because he is charge of a unit without much oversight just as long the money comes in there won't be much complaining, it really doesn't matter if they could bring more in if they did a better job... Or they could bring in more money if they just wasn't there. So when given power and they get
    • by cdrguru (88047)

      What you are describing is pretty much a rule for all of humanity from now on. If you don't want it posted, permanently, for everyone on the planet to see, don't do it.

      That means having a beer with friends is pretty much off-limits. Not only might you do something stupid, but there are plenty of people that think instead of out having a beer you or your friends should be home with the wife and kids. And they will call you on it. Loudly.

      Ever fallen down? Expect someone with a camera to record this momen

      • by Thing 1 (178996)

        Ever fallen down? Expect someone with a camera to record this moment and make sure it can never be forgotten. How about a TV show titled "Funny Falls" where they just edit together some posted videos.

        Reminds of Idiocracy, and "Ow My Balls!"

  • by Frogbert (589961) <frogbert@@@gmail...com> on Monday April 09, 2012 @08:19AM (#39617709)

    You know, the courts may not be working any more, but as long as everyone is videotaping everyone else, justice will be done.
    - Marge Simpson

    • Och! They no catch me with my breeks doon! I wear a metaphorical kilt! - Groundskeeper Willie

    • by fermion (181285)
      We all go to movies? Is what in the movies real? Is there anything real about the situation? Should be arrest Anthony Hopkins as a serial killer? Of course not.

      As we see with dubious edits by James O'Keefe and his co-conspirators of films at NPR and Planned Parenthood, there is little way for the public to know if a film depicts other than a particular viewpoint. Any recording is this way. Take the NBC edits of the 911 call. In the original it appeared that a question was being answered, in the edi

  • His is something along the lines of "the building is burning".
  • Because I work in a secure facility, where cellphones, cameras, and anything that transmits are banned. If someone videotaped them, the one with the videocamera would be fired immediately. I guess because I am used to working in this kind of environment, I hadn't thought of this being a problem.
  • by readin (838620) on Monday April 09, 2012 @08:27AM (#39617753)
    Isn't there a French saying to the effect of "No man will check under his wife's bed unless he himself has hidden under a woman's bed."?
    • by Psychotria (953670) on Monday April 09, 2012 @08:33AM (#39617781)

      Isn't there a French saying to the effect of "No man will check under his wife's bed unless he himself has hidden under a woman's bed."?

      Not sure about that because this is Slashdot and I've never had a GF -- let alone a wife. But I do check under my bed before I go to sleep in case there's monsters or ghosts hiding under there. Sometimes I check twice just in case there's a nymphomaniac under there, but no luck yet.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Nymphomaniacs sound like fun, until you actually live with one Mine had daddy issues, and printed out loads of really fucked up fantasy porn stories. While reading those, she raped me, repeatedly. Seven times in one night. After seven times, walking hurts, sitting hurts, and not just outside, but inside, too.

        Say that you decide you don't want any that particular night. Well, that's just too bad, because you're her fuck toy so you just have to put out. Mine used to accuse me of being gay, if I didn't w

      • by jitterman (987991)
        VERY funny post :) Still, hang in there - I hope it will happen for you. I was over the average age of "first contact," but eventually all of those things came about in my life. In fact, I just proposed yesterday (seriously, I did) - and yes, she accepted. Second time for both of us, but that's okay. Trust me, if someone would have ME, you have hope!
  • I'm sure. Most employees would fear being filmed by their bosses as well, if they thought that was likely.

    It has much more to do with recording/distributing copies of something that might show ones deficiencies than it has to do with behaving ethically.

    It's the same reason people have a fear of public speaking.
    • by Sarten-X (1102295)

      Well, yeah... Bosses are human, too, of course. They don't want to be embarrassed any more than anybody else, but being at a higher position within the company, their reputation is directly tied to many other people's reputations as well. That goes for any other collective entity, too, including churches, charities, sailing crews, police, etc... Nobody wants to have anything recorded, because they know they might make a mistake, and that recording will be used against them, out of context and long after any

  • by mbone (558574) on Monday April 09, 2012 @08:44AM (#39617829)

    The company that paid for the study, note, promises to "securely distribute business video simultaneously over multiple Edge routes," so they probably don't mind some workplace paranoia.

    So, what, they are proposing that companies pay for the secure distribution of their employee's secret boss videos? A delicious thought, but I don't see that as a rapidly expanding enterprise market.

  • Boss doesn't want to be filmed on the toilet. Nor do cashiers. Correlation |= causation. The fact that bosses don't like the same thing that potato farmers and pre-school teachers don't like isn't really news.
  • by Vinegar Joe (998110) on Monday April 09, 2012 @08:54AM (#39617887)

    The bosses have been spying on employees for years. Feels kinda different now, doesn't it?

  • Works great, and all the executives act highly polite when they see it on me.

    Fear my life streaming!

    • Cuts both ways. Give it a few years. Video included with bluetooth headsets will be the norm. Everyone will be able to record any and everything around them 24/7 on a FIFO basis. You only keep what you've decided to tag specifically that moment or last available video capture dump.

      Now add the ability to record live to your phone and have it relay to an online website. The Twitterati may like this as will other attention whores. Now doubt the useful idiots will be gawking while flagging each moment of their

      • by Lumpy (12016)

        Looxcie already works that way. but you CAN dump the whole video buffer if you want. having a 6 hour buffer means you can grab things you missed if they happened in the afternoon.

        The cool part is the button on it when you hit tag grab the previous 30 seconds as well, so you get every bit of that punk kid crunching his crotch on the railing because he was trying to free run past everyone instead of being polite and waiting his turn.

  • Good! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by assertation (1255714) on Monday April 09, 2012 @09:18AM (#39618055)

    No reason only ordinary people should go through life feeling like an amoebae under a microscope.

    I enjoy the occasional article posted to Slashdot about law enforcement organizations lobbying against police being videod ( it is time to retire the word "filmed" as obsolete ).

    I love the irony of the authorities, at least some of them, being told what they tell us.

    "Gee officer, if you are doing your job and following all the rules then you have nothing to be worried about"

    • by ChipMonk (711367)
      Furthermore, if the LEO is indeed acting properly, your video will be his/her defense when the perp becomes vengeful.
  • Bosses make rules (Score:2, Interesting)

    by PPH (736903)

    And one of them might be: No recording devices on company property. Another is: Anything recorded on company time/property belongs to the company.

    I've worked at an outfit* where these were the rules. In addition, management refused to contact employees via anything other than company phones, voicemail, e-mail, pagers, etc. In other words, no records were to be left of any business on anything they didn't control.

    *At one point, they were assessed a civil penalty of $500 million for ethical violations. It w

  • I make dog jackets and I just performed a survey. (The participants were lImited to my existing customer base if you're interested). They apparently have a deep fear of their dogs getting cold. We need a press release on this immediately. Alert MSNBC, Foxnews, and TMZ immediately.

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