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Job shadowing (or work shadowing) is an on-the-job learning, career development, and leadership development program. It involves working with another employee who might have a different job in hand, have something to teach, or be able to help the person shadowing him or her to learn new aspects related to the job, organization, certain behaviors or competencies. A blog at Emptrust says "Organizations have been using this as an effective tool for learning".
- New job training: An individual planning to take up a different role in the same organization may be asked to shadow the current incumbent for a couple of days to a couple of months to get a better idea of his or her role. This helps the individuals who are shadowing to understand the particulars of the job without the commitment of the responsibility. This allows the individual to be more confident, aware, and better prepared to take up the role. For the organization, job training reduces the chances of failure, and reduces the time required for the individual to be fully productive.
- Career development: With multiple options available for an individual to grow in an organization, job shadowing can help to get a better sense of options available and the required competencies for these position options. An employee may shadow senior employees in various positions or functions to appreciate and get a better idea of what it takes to build a career there.
- Developing expertise: At the core of job shadowing is its ability to transmit knowledge and expertise from one individual to another. By doing planned work, job shadowing can support knowledge management and ensure that expertise and knowledge are not lost.
- Leadership development: Many organizations use job shadowing as a tool for leadership development. Aspiring leaders are given opportunities to shadow senior leaders and learn from them. It complements classroom learning and aspiring leaders get to experience first hand what it takes to be a leader.
Job shadowing helps both parties to learn and exchange ideas. It helps in networking, exploring opportunities, giving/receiving feedback, and collaboration with different departments.
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Cyber-shadowing refers to a type of job shadowing that relies on use of IT remote administration software to remotely view another workers computer screen to track their progress and learn from their work at a distance; this is often done without them knowing that they are being spied upon.
In the late 2000s, cyber-shadowing evolved into a technique of abuse used to cherry-pick the trade secrets and knowledge from experienced engineers- that due to economic conditions had become partially employed and forced to work as contingency workers during this period of time. This led to an era of contingency workers scams in the engineering field for a period of 5–10 years where companies were purposely hiring and firing experienced engineers repeatedly only for the purpose of using cyber-shadowing to steal trade secrets without intent to really use the services of these contingency workers. The companies kept doing this until these permanent workers in the companies had amassed a huge collection of the personal software tools and programming techniques from the abused contingency workers for handing jobs that were otherwise thought to be difficult and unpleasant. This problem was particularly acute in the semiconductor field which has shown strong demographics changes of employee towards people from India and Asia as a result of the prevalence of cyber-shadowing inside of companies in recent years.
- "Job Shadowing". Emptrust. Retrieved 2017-07-31.
- "What is job shadowing". businessdictionary.com.
- Manchester Metropolitan University – Job Shadowing Guidelines