Inside your own company or organisation

there lurk communities with common interests. Some wholesome, some less so.

There is more than one Internet and Intranet based chess club using Internet facilities inside companies. In fact the numbers of interest groups, little virtual communities, inside companies is substantial. Some are difficult to see.

Some of them operate inside and, additionally, outside the organisation. The extent to which they exists and the way they are dealt with by companies emerges into the light of day from time to time and frequently not for the best of reasons. Three staff at a bank were sacked after being caught by the service provider Mercury Communications circulating pornography. The circulation was internal, to other banks and City trading houses. Two ICL employees were sacked for using office facilities for viewing pornography.

Phil Virgo from the Institute for the Management of Information systems said in Computer Weekly in 1997 “IT managers, as well as local general managers with service providers, face jail if their networks are used to put illegal material over the .net. …”

“It was important,” he is reported saying, “for IT managers to take reasonable precautions so in the event of a problem they could say they had tried to prevent misuse of their system…”

Of course this is an unreasonable request. As companies and the global culture of the world becomes Internet based, the mass of information on increasingly bigger systems and ever more optimised bandwidth makes the content of a network invisible
to the network manager. In the USA there are five billion commercial e-mails per day. The key for managing these communities is within the corporate culture. Managers have to make clear what behaviours are not acceptable and those that can be damaging to company, colleagues and future prospects as part of their e-strategy.

Mark Trudinger, writing in the may 1999 edition of Corporate Continuity, suggests that an employee who visits illegal or offensive sites may be committing a criminal offence. And if a colleague sees the site and is offended the organisation could be held liable for not taking steps to prevent such material being on display.

This of course may be true if there is intent behind the actions. However, the open and unregulated nature of the Internet makes such incidents possible for good business reasons. Beyond the small issue of pornography, it is worth looking at the subject in broader terms.

Article Series

This article is part 16 of a 37 part series. Other articles in this series are shown below:
  1. The Internet Influence
  2. Reputation
  3. The Internet Society
  4. How People Use The Internet
  5. The Opinion Formers
  6. A Stakerholder Society
  7. Its Fast
  8. Technology For The People
  9. A Reputation For Responding
  10. Newsgroups, Chat and Cybercast
  11. The Nature of Newsgroups
  12. Chat Overtaking Newsgroups
  13. Cybercasting
  14. The Internet Communities
  15. Neighbourghood Communities
  16. Company Communities
  17. Community Currency
  18. The Effect Of Virutal Communities On The Bottom Line
  19. Political Communities
  20. Cyber Marketers
  21. Global Branding
  22. Accessibility
  23. Cyberbrand Outreach Accessibility
  24. Information
  25. Interactivity
  26. Brand Performance
  27. Online PR
  28. Sponsorship Marketing
  29. Brand Attacks
  30. Cyber Counterfit Sales
  31. Internal Communications
  32. Cyberstalkers
  33. Protection from Cyberstalkers
  34. Investor Relations
  35. Share Scams
  36. Protecting Investors
  37. The Investor Sites
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