Negotiating Workplace Surveillance

Negotiating Workplace Surveillance

Brian L. Zirkle (University of Kansas, USA) and William G. Staples (University of Kansas, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-456-9.ch005
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In this chapter, we explore the ways that employees at a large, corporate retail store consent to and challenge the in-store video surveillance system they confront in their workplace and how these negotiations are shaped by and incorporated into the workers local “idioculture”. Our analysis highlights several important themes, including how workers perceive the use of surveillance and how they respond to new surveillance technologies. We focus on how these aspects of worker idioculture are, in part, a product of what employees believe to be morally acceptable uses of technology and their experiences with the older system they had come to know. In addition, we examine the ways that employees negotiate around the edges of store surveillance and, in some cases, actually use the system to reinforce the idiocultural norms of the “productive worker”.

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