Workplace surveillance

The objective of this research project is to examine the development of new methods of employee surveillance, particularly the use of wearable technology to monitor in real time the physical effort of employees, to measure their productivity, to record and trace their movement and interaction with each other, as well as their health condition.

The birth of surveillance techniques at the factory, particularly the techniques developed by Frederic Taylor, based on identifying, fragmenting and regimenting workflows, removed the worker’s knowledge of and control over the work. New techniques of surveillance blur the frontier between work and private life, and, based on wearable technology and techniques of remote movement tracking, are removing the control over his or her own body from the employee. This has far-reaching implications for workplace power relations and for the process of further commodification of labour. In this respect the digital revolution may be just as significant as the industrial revolution in its impact on employee monitoring. The purpose of this project is to investigate these implications in detail.

Ivan Manokha
Departmental Lecturer in International Political Economy