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					                        Instant Messaging:
The Impact of Corporate Policy on Employee Compliance



                      Dissertation Idea Paper (v 01)


                      Submitted in Partial Fulfillment

                  of the Requirements for the Degree of

               Doctor of Professional Studies in Computing


                                     at



                             Pace University



  Ivan G. Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems



                                    by

                             Sandy Westcott




                               August 2006
                                               Table of Contents



1.0 Abstract ..................................................................................................................... 1

2.0 Introduction ............................................................................................................... 2

3.0 Significance of the Research ................................................................................. 5

4.0 Estimate of Research Effort ................................................................................... 6

5.0 Research Methodology ........................................................................................... 7

6.0 References ................................................................................................................ 8




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                                         Instant Messaging: The Impact of Corporate Policy
                                                                 on Employee Compliance




1.0 Abstract

   Companies are       under increasing pressure           to   comply with          various

governmental regulations concerning the archival, retrieval, control, and

monitoring of digital communication within their organizations.[1] [2] [3] [4] While

many companies are already controlling employee email and have implemented

strategies and policies to support governmental compliance regarding this

technology, they have failed to address employee instant messaging (IM) within

their organizations although many executives acknowledge that IM does fall

under compliancy regulations.[1] [5] The issue of employee IM is further

complicated by the fact that some employees use public IM on company

networks. This technology opens up an enterprise’s networks to viruses and

allows messages to pass by intrusion detection systems, and through firewalls,

undetected by the corporate Information Technology (IT) departments.[2, 3] As

IM technology integrates with VoIP and video, and the availability of free, open-

source IM software increases, the threat to an organization’s networks and

company’s ability to comply with government regulations also increase. [1] [2] [3]

    This study will focus on companies who have corporate policies concerning

the employee use of IM and will investigate the effectiveness of those policies in

deterring employees from using public IM in the workplace. Until recently, IM was

not considered a serious business technology therefore, there are only a few

studies regarding this technology.[6] Those studies focused on when employees

uses IM in the workplace and have not focused upon the implications of

employee IM behavior on the company’s compliancy efforts. [6] [7] [8]
                                                                                       Page 1
                                          Instant Messaging: The Impact of Corporate Policy
                                                                  on Employee Compliance




2.0 Introduction

   Companies are       under increasing pressure            to   comply with          various

governmental regulations concerning the archival, retrieval, control, and

monitoring of digital communication within their organizations. [1] [2] [3] [4] While

many companies are already controlling employee email and have implemented

strategies and policies to support governmental compliance regarding this

technology, they have failed to address employee instant messaging (IM) within

their organizations although many executives acknowledge that IM does fall

under compliancy regulations.[1] [5] The issue of employee IM is further

complicated by the fact that some employees use public IM on company

networks. This technology opens up an enterprise’s networks to viruses and

allows messages to pass by intrusion detection systems, and through firewalls,

undetected by the corporate Information Technology (IT) departments. [2] [3] As

IM technology integrates with VoIP and video, and the availability of free, open-

source IM software increases, the threat to an organization’s networks and

company’s ability to comply with government regulations also increase. [1] [2] [3]

   IM, which was long viewed as software used by teenagers to communicate

with friends, has not only moved into the mainstream corporate environment, but

the usage of IM has changed from being an individual productivity tool to

becoming integrated into business processes.[8] [9] [10] [11] [12] IBM reported

that 2.5 million IM messages are sent over their network each day. [13] And



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                                           Instant Messaging: The Impact of Corporate Policy
                                                                   on Employee Compliance




recently Gartner predicted that by 2010, 90% of employees with company email

accounts will also have IM accounts. [8]

   IM usage in the workplace is increasing rapidly because many organizations

are no longer co-located and the unique IM technology provides a means for

team collaboration by allowing users to communicate in a real-time, interactive

manner, and supports “multiple, simultaneous, synchronous conversations”. [6]

[10] [13] [14]

   Employees today expect to have IM technology in the work environment and

companies are in a precarious situation. [7] [13] [14] Allowing IM in the workplace

means that they have to establish and enforce policies and strategies regarding

the technology. It also means that they have to comply with government

regulations regarding digital records. Banning IM all together might squash

innovation and impede more efficient business processes.

   This research will investigate the impact of corporate IM policies in deterring

employee use of public IM technology in the workplace. The following are some

of the questions that will be explored:

   -   Does the company have a written and published IM policy?
   -   Is the policy accessible to all employees?
   -   Does the company provide training regarding the policy?
   -   Are the consequences of policy violation explicitly stated?
   -   Do employees understand the policy? And what is their understanding of
       the policy?
   -   How does the company enforce the policy?



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                                     Instant Messaging: The Impact of Corporate Policy
                                                             on Employee Compliance




-   Does the employee comply with the policy?
       o If not, why not?
       o If so, why?
-   What is the employee’s perception of the policy?
-   What is the impact of the policy on the employee?




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                                          Instant Messaging: The Impact of Corporate Policy
                                                                  on Employee Compliance




3.0 Significance of the Research

   This research is significant because the use of IM technology integrated with

business processes is in its infancy and corporate managers are in a quandary

as to how to control the rapidly growing use of public IM in the workplace. In

order to arrive at a solution that satisfies the needs of both the corporation and its

employees, managers need to understand what motivates employees to either

adhere to, or violate company IM policies. This is particularly critical because in

today’s work environment quite often it is the employees who have driven

software usage. Managers also need to understand the impact of corporate

policies on their employees’ creativity, morale, and productivity. In addition, use

of public IM means that a company’s networks are vulnerable to intrusion and

viruses, and that any compromising of that network may result in the loss of data,

knowledge, and compliancy. Failure to comply with government regulation may

result in stiff penalties for offending corporations. [4] One result of this research

will be to provide managers with a framework for facilitating employee

compliance to corporate IM policies.




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                                         Instant Messaging: The Impact of Corporate Policy
                                                                 on Employee Compliance




4.0 Estimate of Research Effort

   This research will require identifying companies, with IM policies, who will be

willing to provide access to their policies as well as to their employees. Carefully

crafted surveys will be a major component of the research. Experts will be

needed to review the survey questions to ensure that the administered surveys

will generate the desired responses and results. The survey can be administered

over the Internet using commercially available survey software.

   The research will take several months to complete. Analysis of the data will

require the use of statistical software such as SPSS.




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                                           Instant Messaging: The Impact of Corporate Policy
                                                                   on Employee Compliance




5.0 Research Methodology

   Both qualitative and quantitative research method will be used to analyze the

survey data. The research will involve the following:

   -   Identify companies with IM policies

   -   Create the surveys

          o Have experts review surveys

          o Revise surveys if necessary

   -   Contact the appropriate person within the company regarding the research

          o Get the appropriate permissions

   -   Identify and contact participants

          o Participants should be persons who use IM at work (either

              company IM, public IM, or both)

   -   Administer survey

   -   Analyze survey results

   -   Interpret results

   -   Report results




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                                       Instant Messaging: The Impact of Corporate Policy
                                                               on Employee Compliance




6.0 References

1.    Melanie Turek, Instant Messaging: Security, Control And Compliance.
      Business Communications Review, 2006. 36(6): p. 32-36.

2.    Sangkyum Kim and Choon Seong Leem, Security of the Internet-based
      Instant Messenger: Risks and Safeguards. Internet research, 2005. 15(1):
      p. 88-98.

3.    Stephanie Balaouras and Andy Efstathiou, Enterprise Instant Messaging:
      Reducing Security Risks and Maintaining Regulatory Compliance. 2005,
      The Yankee Group.

4.    John C Montana, J.D., E-mail, Voice Mail, and Instant Messaging: A Legal
      Perspective. Information Management Journal, 2004. 38(1): p. 37-41.

5.    Melanie Turek, Messaging Compliance: Why It Matters. Business
      Communications Review, 2004. 34(10): p. 30-43.

6.    Julie Rennecker, Alan R. Dennis, and Sean Hansen. Reconstructing the
      Stage: The Use of Instant Messaging to Restructure Meeting Boundaries.
      in Proceedings of the 39th Hawaii International Conference on System
      Sciences. 2006. Hawaii: IEEE.

7.    Ellen Isaacs, Alan Walendowski, Steve Whittaker, Diane J. Schiano and
      Candace Kamm. The Character, Functions, and Styles of Instant
      Messaging in the Workplace. in CSCW. 2002. New Orleans, Louisiana:
      ACM.

8.    French Caldwell and Alexander Linden, PKN and Social Networks Change
      Knowledge Management, I. Gartner, Editor. 2004.

9.    John C. Tang and James Begole, Beyond Instant Messaging. Queue of
      the ACM 2003: p. 29-37.

10.   Bonnie A. Nardi, Steve Whittaker and Erin Bradner, Interaction and
      Outeraction: Instant Messaging in Action. in CSCW’00. 2000.
      Philadelphia, PA: ACM.

11.   Michael J. Muller, Mary Elizabeth Raven, Sandra Kogan, David R. Millen,
      and Kenneth Carey, Introducing Chat into Business Organizations:
      Toward an Instant Messaging Maturity Model. in Proceedings of the 2003
      International ACM SIGGROUP Conference on Supporting Group Work
      2003 Sanibel Island, Florida: ACM Press.

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                                      Instant Messaging: The Impact of Corporate Policy
                                                              on Employee Compliance


12.   David Smith, Matthew W. Cain, and Bern Elliot, Consumer IM Features
      Suggest the Future of Corporate IM, I. Gartner, Editor. 2006.

13.   David Strom, Managing Your Instant Messaging Frontier. Business
      Communications Review, 2006. 36(4): p. 62-64.

14.   Henny de Vos, Henri ter Hofte, and Henk de Poot. IM @ Work: Adoption
      of Instant Messaging in a Knowledge Worker Organisation. in Proceedings
      of the 37th Hawaii International Conference on system Sciences. 2004.
      Hawaii: IEEE




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