Yesterday the Wall Street Journal's James Hagerty reported on the use of electronic monitoring systems for construction equipment and other vehicle fleets. Big Brother or better knowledge management for workers? It depends on the how the information is used.

For years, Mr. Davis of Edge Contracting has preached to his workers "if you're not using the machine, turn it off." Now, he says, "when I can actually show them what it costs to company, it starts to sink in.

While Mr. Davis probably has expertise about the most efficient use of the equipment, I question whether the best use of the information is for him to be a middle man. What would happen if Mr. Davis taught the operators how to use the information directly and the company provided incentives for the best use? If amateur Prius drivers can adjust their behaviors for better efficiency, I expect professional operators would eventually be teaching each other efficiency strategies the company hasn't yet thought of. Have any examples of positive use of geo-tracking or other monitoring information? Was the technology tied to an organizational change that made it more powerful? That would be evidence of plugged-in management where the people, technology, and organizational process were managed in concert.