The effects of electronic performance monitoring on stress: Locus of control as a moderator variable

Kathryn J. Kolb, John R. Aiello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


In recent years, there has been a substantial increase in the number of companies using electronic performance monitoring (EPM) systems to evaluate their employees. Data from several case studies suggest that employees who are monitored using EPM experience more stress than employees who are monitored by other means. However, it is difficult to draw firm conclusions from this research, because organizations tend to introduce other programs at the same time as EPM systems are installed. Additionally, little existing research examines the role that employee characteristics play in determining EPM's impact. The current study represents an attempt to address these issues. Laboratory subjects worked on two relatively simple computerized tasks and were told either that their work would be monitored via a supervisory computer networked to their terminal, or that their work would not be observed. All other work climate variables were held constant. After completing the tasks, subjects' locus of control and perceived stress were measured. Locus of control was found to moderate the relationship between EPM and stress. Internals felt more stress when their work was electronically monitored. In contrast, externals felt more stress when their work was not monitored. These findings are interpreted using a person - environment fit framework.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)407-423
Number of pages17
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Psychology(all)

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