oa South African Journal of Information Management - Managing employee Internet abuse

Volume 6 Number 3
  • ISSN : 2078-1865
  • E-ISSN: 1560-683X



The Internet and the World-Wide Web have revolutionized modern business and communication. Some of the benefits include cost savings, time savings, increased productivity, access to wider markets, 24 hour convenience all year round and instant communication, among other things. However, it has also brought with it a number of problems that include hacking, fraud, pornography, viruses, spying and spam. Many of these offenses are perpetrated from the facilities of employers, which could affect profitability and productivity, tarnish the reputation of the organization and expose it to costly litigation. This study examined the types of abuses and their impact on organizations, and the possible remedies available to employers. The focus of this study was on the development of Internet Usage Policies as a remedy, as it is inexpensive, it is easily implemented and it can be amended as and when necessary. A guide for developing an effective policy was also developed, taking into consideration the existing legislation that would impact on such a policy and the parties to it. The research also identified the broad contents of an Internet usage policy, which included the following: who are the parties affected by the policy, what is acceptable usage, what is unacceptable usage and what are the consequences of unacceptable usage. More specific contents that were identified include passwords, interpersonal etiquette, overuse and misuse of resources and time frames for the storage of unread e-mail. The study clearly highlighted that managing employee Internet abuse is the responsibility of line management supported by the information systems and human resources departments. Although policies have their limitations, they serve as a deterrent and a means of affording both the employer and employee some protection.

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