Electronic monitoring in the workplace: tools for social control

Cowtan, Carla Jayne
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University of Guelph

This thesis is an investigation of electronic monitoring and surveillance systems in the workplace and the ways these systems can be used as tools for social control. The fundamental objective of this research was to gain an understanding of the relationship between supervisory technology, information produced by the supervisory technology, and how organizations used the information. Specifically, the research focussed on the examination of factors that affected the use of supervisory technology, employee's knowledge of the technology, employer's and employee's ideas related to the technology, and the issue of social control. Two types of financial institutions were considered: banks and insurance companies. Several theories were used to examine and provide an understanding of the need and use for electronic monitoring and surveillance. The foremost ideas taken into account were those of Taylorism, Panopticism, Foucault's Power and Knowledge argument, as well as proposed justifications regarding social control and Max Weber's ideal-typical bureaucracy. The method of data collection was survey interviews.

electronic monitoring, surveillance systems, workplace, social control, supervisory technology