Research Summary

Designing Productive Zones of Privacy

by Ethan S. Bernstein


A common theme that integrates Professor Bernstein's research and course development is how the design of boundaries to observation in organizations can shape more productive employee behaviors in increasingly transparent workplaces. If the stream of research above challenges existing assumptions about transparency, empirically and theoretically exploring the unintended consequences of too much transparency at work, this second stream maps what is to be done, identifying the ways in which managers and employees (the observers and the observed) can strategically use boundaries to create zones of privacy, productive sweet spots that strike a balance between the dual needs for transparency and privacy.

Keywords: transparency; privacy; Field Experiments; Design; Organizational Design; Performance;