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An Empirical Assessment of the Intrusiveness and Reasonableness of Emerging Work Surveillance Technologies in the Public Sector


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As public sector work environments continue to embrace the digital governance revolution, questions of work surveillance practices and its relationship to performance management continue to evolve, but even more dramatically in the contemporary period of many public servants being forced to shift to remote working from home in response to the COVID‐19 pandemic. This article presents the results of three surveys, two of them population‐based survey experiments, all conducted during the onset of the COVID‐19 pandemic in Canada that compare public servant (n= 346) and citizen (n=1,008 phone; n=2,001 web) attitudes to various cutting‐edge—though no doubt controversial among some— digital surveillance tools that can be used in the public sector to monitor employee work patterns, often targeted towards remote working conditions. The findings represent data that can help governments and public service associations navigate difficult questions of reasonable privacy intrusions in an increasing digitally‐connected workforce. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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An Empirical Assessment of the Intrusiveness and Reasonableness of
Emerging Work Surveillance Technologies in the Public Sector
Étienne Charbonneau
École nationale d’administration publique
4750 Henri-Julien, 5th floor
Montreal, QC
H2T 3E5
Carey Doberstein
Department of Political Science
University of British Columbia
C425 1866 Main Mall
Vancouver, BC
V6T 1Z1
Étienne Charbonneau is Canada Research Chair in Comparative Public Management at
École nationale d’administration publique in Montreal. His recent research delves on
accountability and electronic surveillance.
Carey Doberstein is assistant professor at the department of Political Science at the
University of British Columbia in Vancouver. He is an associate editor of Canadian
Public Administration. His latest book is “Distributed Democracy: Health Care
Governance in Ontario,with University of Toronto Press.
We thank the members of the Canadian Public Sector Research Panel for participating in
the research. We also thank Pr Nicholas Jobidon for his initial suggestions about legal
jurisprudence, and Itizez Slama for her work with the panel's recruitment.
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This article has been accepted for publication and undergone full peer review but has not been
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Abstract: As public sector work environments continue to embrace the digital
governance revolution, questions of work surveillance practices and its relationship to
performance management continue to evolve, but even more dramatically in the
contemporary period of many public servants being forced to shift to remote working
from home in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This article presents the results of
three surveys, two of them population-based survey experiments, all conducted during
the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada that compare public servant (n= 346)
and citizen (n=1,008 phone; n=2,001 web) attitudes to various cutting-edgethough no
doubt controversial among some digital surveillance tools that can be used in the
public sector to monitor employee work patterns, often targeted towards remote working
conditions. The findings represent data that can help governments and public service
associations navigate difficult questions of reasonable privacy intrusions in an increasing
digitally-connected workforce.
Evidence for Practice
New work surveillance technologies are available to use within the public sector and will
present acceptability challenges to public managers as they contemplate their
Multi-modal survey data from Canada reveals that public servants and citizens find these
emerging work surveillance technologies to be quite intrusive and unreasonable, but
show relatively more tolerance for digital surveillance over physical surveillance
Understanding surveillance anxieties among targeted employees will be key to finding a
balance between employee privacy rights and employer desires to manage employees in
remote or digital environment.
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In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, social workers in the Canadian province
of Quebec were initially forced by their public sector managers to continue their onsite
visits of needy families and in-person team meetings, violating the physical distancing
protocols from the Government of Quebec. Managers were apparently concerned with
maintaining productivity and chipping away at the waitlists even in a crisis context, afraid
that remote working would compromise these efforts (Allard 2020). The Minister later
denounced the managers and demanded remote working during this period, consistent
with the advice of public health experts on the necessary steps to stem the spread of the
virus. The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically accelerated an existing trend towards
remote work in the public sector, introducing uncertainty with respect to the security of
data, the management of the work of teams, as well as individual productivity, in an
environment when nearly entire organizations are working virtually from home. The
COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in a period, the length of which is unknown, in which
remote working is the norm, and public sector work environments forced to change quite
dramatically while under incredible pressure to serve the government and citizens. With
so many public sector employees working from home, this raises unique supervisory
demands on human resources managers (Schuster et al. 2020, p.3), in particular manager-
employee relationships, work assignments and accountability. One critical piece of this
equation relates to work surveillance, and the technological advancements that have made
digital work surveillance in the context of remote working not only more possible, but
also potentially more fraught with privacy concerns.
Work surveillance can take various forms, from light observation to extremely
intrusive observation, from digital surveillance to more complex artificial intelligence
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analysis. As of June 2020, an uptick in the use of surveillance software was documented
for some private firms (Thompson 2020), but not for public organizations in Canada and
abroad. A piece of software gaining in popularity with private sector employers since the
COVID-19 pandemic is an always-on video conference call software that takes pictures
every few minutes via a front-facing laptop webcam, and posts them on a wall for
managers to see them working at their desks (Holmes 2020). There is also software and
hardware for monitoring devices (e.g. telephone, email, texts, keystrokes, clicks on
computer/internet), one’s environment (e.g. geospatial movements, desk sensors at
workspace) and via biometrics (e.g. heart rate, facial recognition) that are now easily
integrated into most workplaces. Even more complex and potentially intrusive
surveillance is apparent in police departments pre-COVID-19. To fulfill a mandate from
a federal judge, the police department in Oakland, California uses an artificial
intelligence software to flag possible cases of policy officer corruption by compiling and
analyzing “all aspects of an officer’s career, including time in the academy, data on
police stops, citizen complaints, body camera footage and use of force” (Cassidy 2019).
Likewise, the Massachusetts State Police in 2020 will introduce geolocalization
technology in their 2,900 vehicles to track and validate officer movements throughout
shifts (Miller 2020).
Other examples of workplace surveillance can similarly bring clearly into view
the privacy implications of the increasingly easy, but also invasive, monitoring potential
of employers. In 2019, a class-action lawsuit emerged in Illinois on the use of
biometricsin this case fingerprint technologyagainst employers of Thyssenkrupp
Crankshaft, United Airlines and Hilton Hotels and Resorts for using fingerprint scanners
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to prevent “buddy punching” (co-workers punching in a friend who is late or absent from
work). The plaintiffs argued in part that this is an unreasonable infringement on their
privacy to be forced to submit biometric data to the employer. What is considered a
reasonable expectation of privacy in any given society or context is not fixed in time
(Kugler 2014, 1206-1207), and is especially subject to evolution as new technologies
become embedded in our personal and professional lives. For some observers, as new
technologies enter the market and workplaces, “…our expectations of privacy diminish
from what is reasonable to what is merely foreseeable” (Johnson 2012, 415). Something
analogous to “behavioral fatigue,as is speculated with social distancing during the
current pandemic (Pedersen and Favero 2020, 12), might be at play, as emotionally and
cognitively depleted employees, do not resist to new demands put on them.
As consumers, individuals are perhaps growing accustomed to being surveilled by
free services offered by Google and Facebook, or paid Microsoft software, like Cortana,
or premium devices like the Apple Watch. It is unclear if individuals, as workers, have
higher expectations of privacy. The digital revolution was already transforming
traditional forms of surveillanceswinging by office desk, secret shoppers, sign out
boardsinto potentially much more continuous, passive, and all-encompassing
surveillance in a context whereby so much of work exists in cyber space (Ajunwa et al.
2017). This type of digital surveillance falls under the umbrella of electronic performance
monitoring (EPM)even if the purpose is not strictly for performance evaluation or
enhancementsfor which there is enormous diversity in terms of its frequency, purpose,
scope, and transparency to the employee (Ravid et al. 2020). The COVID-19 pandemic
has accelerated this trend, and thus foists upon public sector work environments
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important questions about what digital work surveillance practices are reasonable
intrusions on the privacy of employees.
There is complex legal terrain to navigate in Anglo-American contexts with
respect to privacy, informed by broad constitutional provisions, employment law, and
even collective agreements, all of which are interpreted by human resource managers,
professional associations, arbitrators, and judges to reach decisions about what constitutes
invasions of privacy by public organizations. For example, in Canada, case law
recognizes elements of privacy (Khullar 2012, 392), even if other arbitrators or legal
actors consider this a “legal fiction or a misunderstanding” (Khullar 2012, 385). The U.S.
and Canada fall into the same group of common law and statutory rights of action
involving privacy torts, as opposed to the UK and Australia where breaches of confidence
are the main issue (Paterson 2018, 209). And among various Anglo-American legal
regimes, there is enough commonality that courts occasionally draw on case law from
other countries, as was the case in Canada, where the Supreme Court recognized
arguments from the early privacy case of Katz v. United States (1967) to provide clarity
on the privacy dimensions of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Johnson 2012,
Yet such court decisions of what is a reasonable expectation of privacy are not
solely normative or deduced from first principles. Chao and colleagues (2018, 265) argue
that “(…) all too often those assertions are based not on reliable empirical data, but rather
on judges’ intuitions and sheer speculations.” This is buttressed by experimental survey
research nearly 30 years ago by Slobogin and Schumacher (1993), who compared the
expectations of privacy of the public with judges’ views expressed in key court decisions
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(regarding police behaviors), and found that judges misjudged what the public found
intrusive or reasonable in terms of police searches, seizures and surveillance (Slobogin
and Schumacher 1993, 774). Since then, a number of similar studies have emerged
(including Blumenthal et al. 2009, Fradella et al. 2011, Kugler 2014, Scott-Hyward et al.
2015, Smith et al. 2016, McAllister 2018, Chao et al. 2018) as part of the Empirical
Legal Studies movement (Ho and Rubin 2011). This type of empirical research has not
been done in a Canadian context, and to our knowledge, not focused on professional
public servants elsewhere. There is thus not only an opportunity to settle to what degree
public sector work privacy is a contested public value (Bozeman 2019), but also to
broaden this kind of inquiry beyond criminal and police enforcement contexts, as Hoetger
(2013) contends that the findings from police searches vis-à-vis privacy “would likely
extend to employer searches” (581).
This research provides an empirical assessment of what public servants and
citizens in Canada find reasonable and intrusive in terms of electronic workplace
surveillance in the public sector, as this data can inform, in part, the foundation of the
reasonableness” standard in human resource management policy and legal tests. As we
will describe in our methods section, our two citizen-surveys (web and phone) are
population-based survey experiments which aim to maximize internal and external
validity. While our methodology mimics Slobogin and Schumacher’s (1993) and others
who followed, our two large representative samples of citizens permit us to offer a
reliable snapshot to practitioners, compared to previous studies with a small number of
participants. A 2014 study of senior government officials involved in national security
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decision making revealed that representative polls are the most desirable quantitative
studies by practitioners (Avey and Desch 2014, 231-232).
This study thus provides guidance to human resource managers calibrating their
work surveillance policies and practices, as well as produces empirical data for the
inevitable future legal proceedings that grapple with tests of reasonableness, which
heretofore emerge primarily from legal reasoning and a weak empirical grounding in
Canada (Geist 2003, 178) and the United States (Ciochetti 2011, 356). Geist (2003, 178)
explains that Canadian and U.S. jurisprudence has been shifting slowly from only
considering whether there is a reasonable expectation of privacy in workplace contexts,
to an “emerging analysis [that] focuses instead on whether the surveillance itself is
reasonable”, which is an area in which social scientists can contribute.
The article proceeds as follows. First, we review the literature that speaks to
workplace surveillance, electronic performance management and emerging technologies
in the public sector, and following that review the comparative legal terrain for privacy in
the workplace in Anglo-American contexts. Second, we describe the methodology of this
study, which gathers survey data from a panel of Canadian public servants, as well as the
broader public, to provide an empirical foundation for tests of the reasonableness of
twelve existing and cutting-edge work surveillance technologies that are emerging (or are
likely be proposed soon) in the public sector. Following that we present the data and
analysis of the survey results, revealing that public servants and citizens similarly find
these emerging work surveillance technologies to be quite intrusive and unreasonable, but
both show greater tolerance for digital surveillance over physical surveillance practices.
The final section explores the implications of these findings for public sector
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environments as governments and public service associations navigate difficult questions
of reasonable privacy intrusions in an increasing digitally-connected workforce.
Electronic performance monitoring (EPM) in workplaces
A starting point for the study of work surveillance can be traced to Taylor (1912)
as part of scientific management approaches focused on efficiency and performance of
workers and workflows, objectives that can be tracked much more easily in modern
digital work environments than in Taylor’s time (Ciochetti 2011, 285-286). Electronic
performance monitoring (EPM), broadly speaking, is enabled by the omnipresence of
digital devices in modern organizations, as well as work patterns such as an increasing
number of professional public sector employees who work remotely (Fusi and Feeney
2018). Whereas Taylor was limited to the performance managers could surveil in person,
and with considerable human hours devoted to do so, EPM approaches can be
continuous, discreet, intrusive, conducted without warning or consent, and in many cases
can be analyzed automatically (Ravid et al. 2020). Ajunwa et al. (2017) note a shift from
what they call the more traditional “authoritarian surveillance” that was imposed from
above to the more recent phenomenon of “participatory surveillance” whereby employees
are asked or expected to use apps or digital workspaces that purport to be beneficial to
them (e.g. wellness apps, productivity apps, etc.).
Types of EPM used in modern organizations, both in the private and public sector
include device monitoring (e.g. telephone email, texts, keystrokes, clicks on
computer/internet), environmental monitoring (e.g. cameras, geospatial movements, desk
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sensors at workspace, handwashing badges), and biometric monitoring (e.g. wellness
apps, heart rate, facial recognition). Each of these types can be implemented such that the
scope of data collection is broad or alternatively narrow in scope, as well as continuously
or intermittently collected, and for basic accounting (e.g. minutes at desk) or more
interpretive analysis (e.g. tone of keywords in emails to estimate office mood).
Depending on the context, work surveillance may be aimed towards data-driven
performance measurement, reducing or eliminating personal tasks during work hours
(e.g. coordinating day care pick up, online banking, etc.), or regulating remote working
conditions (Ankabi 2017).
EPM has been studied since the 1980s, and whereas early studies were
inconclusive on the relationship between the presence of EPM and performance or
employee attitudes, contemporary research has discovered that there are many
contingencies involved in this equation, in particular that employee effects from EPM
depend on a interaction between the purpose, target, intensity, scope and feedback
mechanisms involved in the surveillance, as well as individual-level attributes of the
employee, such as their trust in management (Ravid et al. 2020). Furthermore, the same
technology can be at times seen as caring or coercive, depending on the motivations
perceived by workers (Anteby and Chan 2018, 248). Why this all matters is that when
employees perceive unfair monitoring, they are more likely to report lower job
satisfaction and greater stress (Young 2010) and even engage in resistance and creative
avoidance (Kayas et al. 2019).
Workplace privacy rights in Anglo-American contexts
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The pervasiveness of EPM in modern workplacespublic and private sector
presents critical perennial and new questions of privacy rights for employees. Balancing
privacy rights of employees with employer desires to surveil their environments has long
been a struggle in public law and human resources management, but the surveillance
possibilities with new technologies presents unique challenges to this equilibrium. The
core foundational principle in Anglo-American law regarding privacy at the workplace
revolves around the concept of “reasonableness” (Fric 2016, 63-65), for which there are
several dimensions: Is there a reasonable expectation of privacy in this setting? Was the
purpose of the search by the employer reasonable? Was the search conducted in a
reasonable manner? While not all tests established by courts in Anglo-American contexts
are the same, they are similarly grounded in the discourse of “reasonableness” (Hoetger
2013; Fric 2016; Hunt and Bell 2015).
American jurisprudence has loomed large in legal framing and thinking on work
surveillance in Canada (Geist 2003, 163; Eltis 2006, 479), though Canada has preserved
the expectation of privacy at work to a larger degree (Phillips 2015, 479). Yet courts and
arbitrators in the United States and Canada have “no bright-line rule for evaluating
government employee’s expectations for privacy” (Hoetger 2013, 568). For example, for
camera-based work surveillance in Canada, one of the few technologies where a rich
jurisprudence exists, Khullar (2012, 383-389) tracked down five tests, with seventeen
questions, ten mentions of reasonableness and two explicit mentions of intrusiveness.
Most of those tests involve answering questions about whether the surveillance is
demonstrably necessary to meet a specific need, the likelihood of its effectiveness in
meeting that need, a proportionality test of loss of privacy vis-à-vis benefit gained, and
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confirmation that there are no less invasive way to achieve the same end (Levin 2007).
Yet answering the questions in these tests ultimately come down to the subjective
opinions of judges and arbitrators.
One case exemplifies the apparent subjectivity of legal tests in a Canadian context:
Erwin Eastmond v. Canadian Pacific Railway and Privacy Commissioner of Canada
(2004). Different courts, using different tests of what is intrusive and reasonable, arrived
at different verdicts of what a reasonable person may conclude as the same case snaked
up to higher courts. Blasina (2007, 468) concludes from the long Eastmond legal saga
that “the circumstances may allow different adjudicators to come to different conclusions
of fact, although they have given reasonable consideration to the same body of evidence.”
With so much of the analysis of the balance between the privacy of employees and the
rights of employers to observe their work environment hinging on questions of
“reasonableness”, it is important to explore how that standard is determined. Smith et al.
(2016) argue that U.S. courts have tended to not attempt to assess views of
reasonableness from the public itself, but rather from their own sense of reasonableness;
this is echoed by Eltis (2015) with respect to Canadian courts.
While most case law in Anglo-American contexts has moved beyond a simple
assessment of an employee’s reasonable expectation of privacy in particular work
environmentsand instead moving towards assessing as well whether the surveillance
itself is reasonable on a host of criteriathis does not address the problem of courts and
arbitrators relying primarily on their subjective sense of reasonableness. Reasonableness
as a concept ought not to be deduced solely from logic but also from the views of citizens
in this context, given that we know expectations and demands for privacy are continually
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evolving. Yet there are risks in viewing reasonableness by a societal standard informed
from aggregated public opinion, as that may be shaped by the very technological
advancements that are threatening privacy at work. In particular, Eltis argues
“if privacy continues to be defined by reference to reasonable expectations,
technological imperatives necessarily dictate that the sphere in which one can
reasonably claim solitude will decrease. In other words, assessing an individual’s
right to privacy by reference to society’s conception of the measure of privacy
that one is entitled to reasonably expect is particularly awkward when such
expectations are rapidly eroding, precisely by reason of eventual social
habituation to recurring intrusions” (Eltis 2015, 496).
Having a baseline of employee and citizen approval before a technology is widespread is
thus useful. Likewise, having an empirical basis for statements about reasonableness in
the context of work surveillance technologies can complement logic-based and
contextualized tests established by courts and arbitrators in the pursuit of less-arbitrary
Empirically Measuring Reasonableness and Intrusiveness
Remarking on American judges’ perception of what citizens find reasonable when
interacting with the police, Wilson (2008, 40) argues that jury members would be better
suited than judges to have a sense of what the public thinks. Ascertaining what society
finds reasonable in terms of work surveillance is an empirical question with an empirical
(though not fixed in time) answer. Slobogin and Schumacher (1993) discovered in
surveys that members of the American public found many practices deemed reasonable
by American judges about law enforcement as invasive and in violation of their
expectations of privacy. The authors used online experimental vignettes to test the effect
of a first/third person view and the absence/presence of evidence on the respondents’
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view on intrusiveness of police searches. They surveyed a small sample of students
some in law schools, some noton their views of surveillance activities with the aim to
establish relative intrusiveness among different practices.
Blumenthal et al. (2009) essentially replicated Slobogin and Schumacher’s (1993)
study with 158 undergraduate psychology students, mirroring their findings, but also
noting that those students who were exposed to more contextual information about the
surveillance were less likely to find it intrusive than those asked about a particular
surveillance practice in the abstract. Fradella et al. (2011) surveyed students and faculty
at eleven universities, as well as the public via invitations from Facebook, on privacy as it
relates to the body, territory, information and communications, and their agreement with
thirty-five judicial decisions in this realm. They concluded that “collectively, the results
indicate that courts often misjudge what society is prepared to embrace as a reasonable
expectation of privacy (372).
Scott-Hayward et al. (2015) likewise find that the courts are often widely out of
step with what the public expects in terms of privacy on five common practices of the
third-party doctrine (which enables police to acquire information on online activities and
localizations from social media companies, internet and phone providers, without
probable cause). The most spectacular gap between the courts’ views of what the public
expects and what respondents expect is that:
Almost 90% of participants felt that law enforcement should never have access, or
at least require a level commensurate with probable cause to obtain information
about email addresses with which an individual has been in contact. This is in stark
contrast to the leading circuit court decision, holding that users have no expectation
of privacy in this information. (Scott-Hayward et al. 2015, 54)
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Chao et al. (2018) also surveyed 1,200 U.S. respondents to compare their
expectations of privacy to the ones depicted in court decisions and similarly found that
judges overestimate the public’s tolerance for police surveillance. The discrepancies for
digital surveillance are especially important:
(…) survey participants consider five of the technology searches to be the most
intrusive of all the study’s scenarios. All five of these—Stingray devices, drones,
obtaining emails, accessing the Cloud, and GPS trackingwere considered more
intrusive than a police search of one’s bedroom, the quintessential violation of
privacy that requires justification by probable cause and a warrant. (Chao et al.
2018, 309-310)
In light of empirical legal studies such as these, Scott-Hayward et al. (2015)
suggest that judges should consult robust public opinion data and not lean exclusively on
their own sensitivities about what appears reasonable to citizens (Scott-Hayward et al.
2015, 58). While all of the studies cited above are focused on police surveillance, the
questions of reasonableness and intrusiveness of surveillance are parallel to those in the
context of work surveillance in the public sector. From these kinds of studies, we are able
to identify where the majority of respondents land on the technologies and thus derive
where the “reasonable person” stands. Furthermore, the findings related to the enhanced
feelings of intrusiveness of digital surveillance are particularly important to explore in the
context of work surveillance in the digital era, and especially so in context of the
COVID-19 pandemic when much of the public service is working remotely and will be
for some time.
Surveillance technologies in the workplace
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While there are conceptual parallels in police surveillance cases in Anglo-
American contexts with workplace surveillance in the public sector, the technologies
used and their contexts are quite different. Thus, while serving as the inspiration for this
study, the relationship between a citizen and the state (ie. police surveillance) is different
from that of an employee and employer (ie. work surveillance), and as a result we must
compile an empirical evidence base specific to public sector work surveillance and
questions of reasonableness and intrusiveness.
Writing from a Canadian context, Levin (2007, 216-217) provided a list of
electronic surveillance methods used or piloted by employers ranging from CCTVs,
biometric identifiers, radio frequency identifiers (RFIDs), internet and email monitoring,
and keystroke tracking. Since that time of writing, we know of additional surveillance
practices used in the public and private sector around the world. For example, a device
called “OccupEye” was used at The Telegraph (UK) newspaper, which is a box placed
under one’s desk that can track attendance and take body heat measures as part of a
productivity assessment of employees (Ajunwa et al. 2017). At Deloitte and Bank of
America, employees have worn “Humanyze badges which can see and hear everything
they do, and analyze their speech volume and pitch, track who they spend time with and
the physical path of their day (Steele 2020). While keyloggers have been a surveillance
option for employers for two decades (Geist 2003), newer software such as Clickstream
can collect very specific data and produce reports on how people use their computer and
internet throughout the day (Ajunwa et al. 2017). Remote workers may also be digitally
surveilled with increased ease, with examples from (now called UpWork)
whereby a photo is taken by front-facing camera randomly six times every hour to
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estimate time at one’s desk (Ajunwa et al. 2017) and at Crossover Worksmart whereby
software takes screenshots at random to produce a “digital timecard” every ten minutes to
determine the amount of paid time working (Captain 2020). While the private sector is
where many of these technologies have been piloted, they are increasingly present in the
public sector as well, as described explicitly in the new Policy on Service and Digital
by the Government of Canada (Government of Canada 2020). Some surveillance tools
have clearer performance purposes compared to some other surveillance without clear
purposes. There are many more examples of cutting edge surveillance technologies in
workplaces in Anglo-American contexts in addition to those identified above that we test
explicitly in our survey of Canadians, the design of which is detailed in the next section.
‘Bureaucrat’ is an amorphous term. The dimension we focus on is surveillance for
two vivid examples of public servants with (typically) higher and lower appreciation
among the public, a social worker and government tax agent, respectively (Fukuyama
2013; Tummers et al. 2013). The empirical strategy for this study is to survey Canadians
on questions of the reasonableness and intrusiveness of a dozen digital surveillance
measures for two types of public sector workers (randomly assigned to respondents): (i) a
public servant in the national capital working for the tax collection agency, and (ii) a
social worker in an organization funded by government. These two areas of public
service provide us with a maximal range of likability, which might impact one’s
assessment. There is one survey, administered to different subpopulations and completed
both online and by phone. The first subpopulation is a sample of Canadian public
servants from the Canadian Public Sector Research (CPSR) Panel created by the authors,
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which is a voluntary panel of public servants willing to answer online academic surveys
related to the work they do for Canadians. At the time the survey was conducted from
March 11th-26th, 2020, there were 1,206 members, 346 out of 402 of whom completed the
surveys with few missing data, for a response rate of 27%. The second subpopulation of
Canadians surveyed online was a sample of 2,001 Canadian citizens with the help of
Léger Marketing, a national polling company, surveyed from March 17-26th, 2020. In this
sample, we intentionally oversampled (n= 1,001) young adults (aged 18-30) in order
evaluate hypotheses that younger citizens have lower expectations of privacy and higher
degrees of comfort with technologies (Chao et al. 2018), as part of an analytical blocking
strategy (Mutz 2011). As such, the sample of Canadians (n= 1,000) collected by Léger in
the online survey was a nationally-representative sample, aside from age.
The final subpopulation is also a representative sample of another 1,008
Canadians, but it was administered by phone by Mainstreet Research, a national polling
company. The motivation behind using a bi-modal data collection strategy for the
population-based citizen samples is to mitigate bias of the survey method, which was
observed by Boivin and Cordeau (2017) in their study of citizen satisfaction with the
Montreal Police Department, finding that telephone respondents were more likely to
express satisfaction than online respondents even after controlling for demographics,
victimization, and lifestyle. This was also discovered by Herian and Tomkins (2012) in a
similar study in Nebraska. Furthermore, other researchers have speculated that members
of the public who are registered with an online market research panel may have particular
sensibilities towards digital surveillance than the wider public (Chao et al. 2018;
Abraham et al. 2019) that we are able to test (and control for in our analysis).
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The central task asked of all survey respondents was for them to identify, in their
opinion, the “reasonableness” and “intrusiveness” of twelve emerging workplace
surveillance measures for public sector employees. Similar to Slobogin and Schumacher
(1993) who use experimental vignettes to examine the impact of contextual elements on
perceptions of their respondents, we have included technologies with clear performance
purposes as well as those without clear purposes, as well as randomly vary the type of
public sector worker for whom these surveillance measures are targeting: a public servant
in Ottawa working for the Canada Revenue Agency or a social worker in an organization
funded by government.
Just as Slobogin and Schumacher (1993) used experimental vignettes to study the
impact of contextual elements on the perceptions of their respondents, we borrow the
same strategy in this study. Table 1 below summarizes the items tested for reasonableness
and intrusiveness. In terms of measures of reasonableness and intrusiveness, we followed
methods used by Kugler (2014, 1194), Chao and colleagues (2018, 295) and Slobogin
and Schumacher (1993, 736) who use a 0-100 intrusiveness scale, and a six-point
reasonableness scale.
[table 1 about here]
This survey is limited to Canadian public servants and citizens, but we believe the
empirical story has the potential to inform debates in a cross-national context. To provide
evidence of the extent of comparability of our Canadian sample to an American context,
we replicate a survey question advanced by Rainie and Duggan (2016) at the Pew
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Research Center to Americans (n=461) in relating to work surveillance. The question is
as follows, and was replicated in our survey:
Several co-workers of yours have recently had personal belongings stolen
from your workplace, and the company is planning to install high-resolution
security cameras that use facial recognition technology to help identify the
thieves and make the workplace more secure. The footage would stay on file
as long as the company wishes to retain it, and could be used to track various measures
of employee attendance and performance.
Would the scenario be acceptable to you, or not? (Yes, No, It depends (please explain))
To the extent that Canadian respondents mirror the results from this question, we will be
able to speak with greater confidence of the cross-national implications of our findings.
We also asked all respondents questions about their views of their own colleagues (Yin et
al. 2013) at work (or previous job if currently unemployed) and their general trust in
others, as potential intervening variables on their reported perceptions of reasonableness
and intrusiveness of various workplace surveillance technologies. The full survey can
viewed in Appendix A1, as well as a demographic summary of all respondents, public
servants and the representative samples of Canadian citizens.
On the measure of intrusiveness of the twelve work surveillance technologies, we
observe a distinct pattern vis-à-vis public servant respondents and citizen respondents, as
shown below in Table 2: generally a similar order with respect to the technology’s
intrusiveness, but shifted approximately 10-17 points towards more intrusiveness
according to public servant respondents compared to citizen respondents. This is
expected given that the question is focused on the surveillance of a public sector worker,
and thus public servants are likely thinking of the intrusiveness of these technologies in a
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very personal manner, whereas citizens are thinking about surveilling othersa key
distinction observed in the literature (Slobogin and Schumacher 1993). Note that we
inspected the results for any patterns in intrusiveness and reasonableness scores with
respect to gender and ethnicity and found no large independent effects of these
dimensions (age is explored further below).
One finding of particular note, however, is that computer software surveillance
(e.g. internet usage, Clickstream software, key logger, AI email analysis) is viewed as
slightly less intrusive than cameras, photo capture and Humanyze badges (which is
basically a personal audio recorder’ of one’s work day), despite actually gathering more
information on an individual. This may be due to camera and camera-like surveillance
being perceived as surveillance without purpose or related meaningfully to performance,
but rather as a blunt surveillance instrument for general observance. Other arguably more
invasive technologies are more tolerated likely because respondents can see their
relationship to work productivity or performance, in particular that the surveillance
produces a desirable effect on worker and team behavior.
[table 2 about here]
There is a very strong correlation between one’s sense of the intrusiveness of a
technology and their views of its reasonableness for use in a public sector work
environment. There are surveillance technologies outside of the realm of work, however,
that are generally viewed as quite intrusive but nonetheless may be viewed as reasonable
to use in certain contexts (e.g. ankle monitors as conditional for parole). For the work
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surveillance technologies examined here, keycards with RFID, which can capture
movements around the office environment, was in the low range of intrusiveness
according to our respondents (including public servants), but was viewed as unreasonable
by public servants. This is likely due to an absence of an obvious surveillance-
performance association, which can contribute to the rejection of some types of intrusive
Previous research suggests that a lack a reciprocal trust between political officials
and bureaucrats contributes to more technological surveillance within the bureaucracy
(Fusi and Feeney 2018, 1470), so to what extent does this extend to citizens vis-à-vis
public servants? In contrast to Fusi and Feeney (2018), our samples included members of
the public, who mostly work in the private sector, although some are public servants
themselves. We were also interested in examining how trust in one’s colleagues, and
others more broadly, may shape one’s sense of the intrusiveness and reasonableness of
various work surveillance technologies. Individuals who bear low trust for their fellow
coworkers might very well be more supportive of technologies surveilling their activities.
The effect of individuals with lower trust in most people or distrust in supervisors on
support for work surveillance has not been firmly established in the literature (Nakhai
and de Lint 2013; Weckert 2002). Figure 1 reveals how both one’s trust in colleagues, as
well others more generally, moderately contributes to intrusiveness and reasonable scores
across all the technologies (aggregated), differentiated by the two types of public sector
workers who would be targeted by the work surveillance: a public servant in Ottawa
working for the Canada Revenue Agency or a social worker in an organization funded by
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[figure 1 around here]
The essential takeaway from Figure 1 is that we find no systematic patterns
among our respondents with regard to the intrusiveness or reasonableness of a work
surveillance technology that is conditional on the type of public sector worker, and that
while trust in colleagues and trust in others shapes the aggregated scores of intrusiveness
and reasonableness, the substantive differences are negligible. The survey mode (online
versus phone), however, seemingly produced much larger effects on intrusiveness and
reasonable scores, with those contacted by phone (n= 1,008) tending to find work
surveillance technologies more intrusive and less reasonable than the Canadians
contacted via a web panel (n=2,001). We believe this to be a combination of the
purposeful over-sampling of younger cohorts in the web panel, as well as the mode (ie.
participants on web panels are likely more comfortable with technology). All that said,
when trust in colleagues, trust in others and the survey mode are held constant, the
differences between public sector workers with higher and lower appreciationsocial
workers and Canada Revenue agents, respectivelyare not large enough to be
statistically significant.
[figure 2 around here]
To further investigate the potential of an age cohort effect, Figure 2 illustrates the
differences between younger (18-30, n=1,169) and older (30+, n=1,840) citizens in terms
of their intrusiveness and reasonableness scores for twelve work surveillance
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technologies (representative web panel and weighted-representative phone survey data
pooled). Younger citizens find wellness apps and handwashing badges on balance not
intrusive and most lean towards a position of them being "somewhat reasonable."
Younger citizens mostly agree with other citizens as to the intrusiveness and
reasonableness of OccupyEye, AI email software, and key loggers, even if they find them
slightly less objectionable. Nevertheless, younger citizens find random photo capture
software and internet usage monitoring statistically more intrusive and less reasonable
than older cohorts. Age is not a distinguishing factor for the intrusiveness and
reasonableness scores for non-visible cameras, Humanyze badges, Clickstream software,
facial recognition, and RFID.
The final area of data analysis speaks to the comparability of the findings from a
Canadian context to elsewhere, in particular to the United States. Recall that we
replicated a question from Rainie and Duggan’s (2016) study (n=461) with regard to the
acceptability of office surveillance cameras with facial recognition capability for the
purposes of security and performance analysis. Our large Canadian sample from the web
panel mirrors closely the findings from the smaller U.S. online panel respondents on this
question, with 52.3% finding them acceptable (z=0.67; n.s.), compared to 54%, However,
our representative phone respondents differ widely from the U.S. web panel participants
28.8% finding it acceptable (z=9.31; p<.001). This may be explained by the fact that
while both self-selecting to participate in a study, web panel participants are different
than phone respondents, as they had to register to a panel prior to a study, hence self-
selecting twice. Phone surveys are costly, more than ten dollars per respondent, rather
than 55 cents per respondents on crowdsourcing platforms (Pedersen and Favero 2020,
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p.27), but they reach citizens who are seldom studied otherwise, in particular those who
may exhibit reticence with regards to the internet. Regardless, the close alignment of our
web panel sample across the two countries to the same question related to work
surveillance lends confidence to drawing inferences from this study to the American
In designing this study, we set out to findlargely through media stories and tech
journalismthe most cutting edge workplace surveillance technologies being proposed
or used in Anglo-American contexts, and take a temperature on them among the
Canadian public and public servants with regard to their sense of the technology’s
intrusiveness. We discovered that the Canadian public and public servants find most of
the emerging surveillance technologies quite intrusive and their use unreasonable in
public sector work environments. Yet as we have discovered earlier in the review of court
and arbitration cases, judges and arbitrators are, by contrast, much more permissive of
camera and phone technologies in the workplace, and thus operate on assumptions about
reasonableness that are often disconnected from the public. Determining the balance of
worker privacy rights and employer desire to know the happenings of the workplace,
particularly in the context of a sudden (and likely sustained) surge in remote working as a
result of COVID-19, is key going forward.
From this study, we are able to deduce a number of dimensions of privacy
concerns among those who would be surveilled, as well as the broader expectations of the
citizenry with respect to what is reasonable, as depicted in Table 3 below. Technologies
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that aim to capture the physical activity of employees (cameras, movement trackers, etc.)
are viewed as slightly more intrusive than digital footprint technologies (keystroke
loggers, Clickstream software, email AI analysis), despite the latter actually collecting
more useful information from a productivity standpoint. All of the ‘very unreasonable’
work surveillance technologies in Table 3 have in common a lack of a clear surveillance-
performance link; in other words, the surveillance is not so much associated with their
work productivity and task achievements, but about monitoring them or their bodies in
the environment. It is also worth being mindful of the age cohort effects of work
surveillance attitudes in the context of recruitment and retention in the public sector; new
recruits are likely to be especially repulsed by work surveillance technologies like
random photo capture software and internet usage monitoring.
[Table 3 here]
This speaks to the emotional content of workplace surveillance technologies that
can influence morale and anxiety, and thus knowing the nature of the concerns of types of
work surveillance on the employee side, and citizens more generally, as well as tolerance
for some types of surveillance, is important for public sector employers, human resource
managers, as well as arbitrators and courts in the cases of disputes. An empirical basis for
claims of intrusiveness and reasonableness is an essential supplement to deductively
derived principles of legal concepts like ‘reasonableness’, and can aide in achieving a
more systematic balance, and avoiding the arbitrary and conflicting findings we see in
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Anglo-American contexts with regard to reasonable and unreasonable workplace
surveillance (Fradella et al. 2011, 371).
In their study, Slobogin and Schumacher (1993, 743) proffered that justices of the
U.S. Supreme Court could use their results on work surveillance in four different ways:
reject or ignore them, change their legal analysis to make the results of the judges-citizen
gap null, incorporate the results in the way they reach decisions (including reversing
themselves), or finally build a new way to model their decisions in the future to reflect
the views of the members of the society they serve. Yet most of the questions about
public sector work surveillance will not be sorted out in the courts, but in the choices of
public managers and human resource teams in conjunction with public service unions and
privacy commissioners, which Fusi and Fenney (2018) confirm with their finding of the
enormous variation in the use of work surveillance technologies in the U.S. This research
is aimed at building an empirical base from which to inform managers and policymakers
ongoing conversation about appropriate public sector work surveillance that truly
balances worker privacy rights and concerns with the employer’s desire to maintain a
productive workplace in a context of growing remote working outside of the traditional
office environment. By focusing on the technologies that are certainly soon to be
proposed, we are able to provide public sector parties a foundational analysis of these
emerging technologies in relation to one another, as well as a framework in which to
examine the trade-offs before they are put in place and become the source of controversy.
While we believe that an empirical basis for discussions is an important
complement to negotiations over public sector work surveillance, there are limitations to
this research, though much of which can be addressed in future research. First, when
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workplace privacy cases are before arbitrators or judges, they are considering many more
elements and contextual details of a particular dispute; the item-vignette technologies in
our survey are stripped of such context and thus they represent abstractions, not cases. As
others before us acknowledged (Chao et al. 2018, 316), that is an inherent limitation to
this method. At the same time, we could not have surveyed the public expecting them to
read the amount of material that judges consider, but perhaps richer (but fewer) vignettes
that add more contextual dimensions could be illuminating in a future study. A second
limitation is that the Canadian sample may not travel as far as we assume. While we
attempt to address this with a replication question from a 2016 Pew study of Americans
to establish a measure of alignment of samples, further studies will need to investigate for
the presence of country-specific norms of public sector work surveillance.
In their essay on the ethics of work surveillance in the public sector, West and
Bowman (2016, 637) stated that “privacy is not just an individual right but also a societal
good: The presumption of freedom and independence from being constantly watched and
the ability to create one’s professional role in an authentic manner. Strong reasons, then,
must exist to subject employees to surveillance.” We agree with this sentiment, and
further argue that we have to be very careful about work surveillance as the technological
capacity advances in such a way that it allows it to be done in a much more continuous,
passive, and all-encompassing manner. Described as the third shock to the millennial
paradigm, the COVID 19 pandemic has the potential to introduce a measure presented as
temporary, but that can become the new normal (Roberts 2020, 1). The ability to do it
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and the relatively low-cost options from companies that provide such surveillance
servicesdoes not mean public sector employers should do it or that it is the best manner
in which to promote high performance among employees. Yet at the same time we ought
to appreciate that the workplace is changing dramatically as part of a longer-term trend,
with surges in remote work outside the traditional environment in the context of COVID-
19 and certainly thereafter, in which public managers need to responsibly adapt. The
private sector is pioneering the use of these surveillance technologiesoften with push
back from employeesbut the public sector in particular needs to get this right, as they
are working on behalf of citizens to support the governments they elect, and thus we are
all invested in a public sector work environment that achieves a mutually acceptable
and reasonablebalance of privacy and surveillance in these settings.
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Table 1: Workplace surveillance technologies and their descriptions as presented to respondents
in the surveys (presented in random order).
Key logger: Records how many keys on your computer keyboard were touched per hour
AI email software: Algorithm uses keywords drawn from employee emails to report to bosses about the
office's mood
Keycard with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID): Tracking the location of employees and times in
which workers are in the building
Internet usage: Reports on the websites workers spend time and for how long
OccupyEye: Box under desk that senses body in office to track attendance and body heat measures
Handwashing badge: Sticker worn by employees to track handwashing practices at work
Random photo capture: Computer camera takes photo randomly six times every hour to ensure those working
remotely are at their computer
Clickstream software: Tracks how computer users click and navigate the computer and internet during work
Wellness apps: Incentivized wellness programs at work using FitBit or similar technology to monitor physical
Non-visible camera: Hidden cameras in workplace to measure the timing of breaks and movements around the
Humanyze badges: Analyzes speech through volume and pitch, notes who they spend time with, and maps the
paths of their days
Facial recognition: Monitoring employee activity and enhancing security of the workplace
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Table 2: Workplace surveillance technologies and perceived intrusiveness and reasonableness, ranked.
(0 not at all intrusive to 100 extremely intrusive)
(1- very unreasonable to 6- very reasonable)
web survey
phone survey
servants web
web survey
phone survey
servants web
(and mean)
(and mean)
(and mean)
(m=2.31, ---)
(m=2.38, ---)
(m=2.39, ---)
(m=2.54, n.s.)
(m=2.57, ---)
(m=2.74, ---)
(m=2.96, ---)
(m=3.16, ---)
(m=3.30, ---)
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(m=3.28, ---)
(m=3.25, n.s.)
(m=3.41, ---)
(m=3.55, ---)
(m=3.66, ---)
sampling; young
sampling; young
(***, p>0.001; **, p>0.01; *, p>0.05)
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Figure 1. Trust in colleagues, trust in others and survey mode effects on aggregated intrusiveness and reasonableness scores
(citizen web panel as the base of comparison), by experimental condition (CI = 95%).
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Figure 2. Differences between the intrusiveness and reasonableness scores of twelve work surveillance technologies according
to young (18-30year old; n=1,169); and older (30+year; n=1,840) respondents (representative web panel and weighted-
representative phone survey data pooled).
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Table 3: Typology of the surveillance-performance link and views of unreasonable work surveillance technologies.
Median respondent on reasonableness (public servants)
Clear surveillance
performance link
Somewhat unreasonable or
Very unreasonable
Key logger
Clickstream software
Internet usage
Facial recognition
Keycard w/ RFID
Handwashing badge
Wellness apps
Non-visible camera
Humanyze badges
Random photo capture
AI email software
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Appendix A
web survey
phone survey
Public servants
web panel
sampling; young
50.2% (1005)
17.6% (177)
13.3% (46)
14.3% (284)
22.6% (228)
29.2% (101)
14.4% (297)
24.0% (242)
35.6% (123)
20.7% (415)
35.7% (361)
22.0% (76)
50.7% (1015)
44.4% (447)
53.8% (186)
48.4% (968)
49.1% (495)
44.2% (153)
transgender, rather not
1.4% (18)
6.6% (66)
2.0% (7)
from all
over the
What is
59.5% (1191)
62.6% (631)
68.5% (235)
3.8% (75)
4.5% (45)
1.5% (5)
South Asian
6.5% (129)
3.5% (35)
4.1% (14)
East Asian
7.4% (148)
1.6% (16)
5.3% (18)
Latin America
2.0 % (40)
1.3% (43)
2.0% (7)
2.0 % (40)
3.6% (37)
1.2% (4)
11.9% (239)
7.2% (72)
10.8% (37)
Prefer not to say
7.0% (139)
15.7% (158)
6.7% (23)
High school / GED
34.5% (691)
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Accepted Article
... AM is now rapidly spreading through all types of work settings beyond the gig economy. Examples include the monitoring of productivity, activity and emotions of Algorithmic Management and Work Motivation remote workers (Charbonneau & Doberstein, 2020), the algorithmic determination of truck drivers' routes and time targets (Levy, 2015), and the automated creation of schedules in retailing (Vargas, 2021). AM is usually not legitimated as a "manager" of workers, but the algorithms created through the behavioral monitoring of workers are used to shape worker behaviors (Stark & Pais, 2020). ...
... access devices, cameras). Interestingly, these practices seem to have sharply increased since the spread of telework in certain industries due to the COVID-19 pandemic (Charbonneau & Doberstein, 2020;Cox, 2020;De' et al., 2020;Holmes, 2020;Singer, 2020). Algorithmic Management and Work Motivation Autonomy is at risk of being reduced by the monitoring and quantification of worker behaviors (Moore & Hayes, 2017;Newman et al., 2020). ...
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Algorithmic management (AM) is rapidly spreading across industries and significantly changing the nature of work, thanks to advances in artificial intelligence. Since 2015, the advent of the first publications on this topic, AM has captured and sustained the focus of researchers in the social sciences. This enthusiasm can be explained not only by the rapid expansion of the phenomenon but also by the important issues it raises regarding the influence of management on worker motivation, performance, and well-being. We review the existing literature to identify the known effects of the use of AM on worker motivation, using the lens of self-determination theory (SDT). We uncovered mostly negative effects of AM on worker need satisfaction and motivation; however, features of algorithmic management systems and management utilization practices have moderating effects on the impact of AM on work motivation. Future research should leverage motivational knowledge derived from self-determination theory to inform the design of algorithmic management and how organizations use it.
... Unlike the conditions in our study, the measures taken to restrict the spread of the virus have made working from home mandatory rather than voluntary for employees in non-essential occupations, making further research into this topic all the more urgent (Carnevale & Hatak, 2020;Rudolph et al., 2020). Concerns may arise that teleworking in such an extensive manner will jeopardize the quality of public services (Charbonneau & Doberstein, 2020). It is highly relevant to examine whether levels of performance, not only on the individual level, but also on the organizational level can uphold the standards. ...
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Enhanced communication technologies increasingly allow us to work anytime and anywhere. Many organizations have moved from traditional offices to flexible workplaces in which employees are allowed to vary their work hours and work at different locations both outside and inside the office. So far, findings are inconclusive regarding the effects of teleworking and few studies have examined its use by employees. Our study, which addresses the pre-COVID-19 context, is based on COR theory and explores how employees working in a Dutch public sector organization ( N = 873) use teleworking and what the consequences of this are for individual perceived performance. With respect to teleworking, we focus on time spent working from home and time spent working elsewhere. To test hypotheses, we conducted SEM in AMOS using a two-step approach. Mediation analysis showed that the paths from teleworking to performance via autonomy and work-life balance satisfaction were significant for working from home.
... Reviewed studies revealed that organizations combined management by objectives, autonomy, and self-control to monitor remote workers (e.g., Charbonneau & Doberstein, 2020;Groen et al., 2018;Leclercq-Vandelannoitte et al., 2014;Timms et al., 2015). In this respect, remote workers appreciated output control even though it produced negative effects in some circumstances (Caillier, 2013;Lautsch & Kossek, 2011;Virick et al., 2010;Vuolle, 2010). ...
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The increasing diffusion of remote working puts organizational control in the foreground. As employees work at a distance from traditional offices and/or are geographically dispersed, companies are called upon to influence their willingness to act in accordance with a company's vision, values, and objectives. To date, a comprehensive understanding of how organizational control is implied in remote work arrangements (RWAs) is still lacking. To fill this gap, a research synthesis—that is, a systematic review of 131 studies that empirically investigated this issue—is carried on. The analysis is not limited to direct forms of control (e.g., output control) but also includes managerial practices as well as actions enacted by employees that influence the dynamics of control, acting as indirect levers of control. Findings were presented and discussed in relation to five “control domains”: control systems, supervisory management styles, trusting relationships, organizational identification, and work identity in RWAs.
... In the academic literature, computer science technologies are ever present in society, offering new and emerging methods to improve vaccination coverage and being used to support various public-health responses to many well-known concerns, such as COVID-19 and vaccine hesitancy [42]. Some of the most notable works introduced include population surveillance [43], case identification [44], contact tracing [45], and evaluation of interventions on the basis of mobility data and communication with the public [44]. The integration of such technologies not only works by its own but also find its way to integrate in many health domains [46] due to their rapid responses in leveraging many resources, such as large online datasets [47], connected devices [48], relatively low-cost computing resources [49], and advances in predictive analysis measures, like artificial intelligence (AI) [50] and machine learning [51]. ...
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A substantial impediment to widespread Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination is vaccine hesitancy. Many researchers across scientific disciplines have presented countless studies in favor of COVID-19 vaccination, but misinformation on social media could hinder vaccination efforts and increase vaccine hesitancy. Nevertheless, studying people’s perceptions on social media to understand their sentiment presents a powerful medium for researchers to identify the causes of vaccine hesitancy and therefore develop appropriate public health messages and interventions. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, previous studies have presented vaccine hesitancy in specific cases or within one scientific discipline (i.e., social, medical, and technological). No previous study has presented findings via sentiment analysis for multiple scientific disciplines as follows: (1) social, (2) medical, public health, and (3) technology sciences. Therefore, this research aimed to review and analyze articles related to different vaccine hesitancy cases in the last 11 years and understand the application of sentiment analysis on the most important literature findings. Articles were systematically searched in Web of Science, Scopus, PubMed, IEEEXplore, ScienceDirect, and Ovid from January 1, 2010, to July 2021. A total of 30 articles were selected on the basis of inclusion and exclusion criteria. These articles were formed into a taxonomy of literature, along with challenges, motivations, and recommendations for social, medical, and public health and technology sciences. Significant patterns were identified, and opportunities were promoted towards the understanding of this phenomenon.
Self-determination theory has shaped our understanding of what optimizes worker motivation by providing insights into how work context influences basic psychological needs for competence, autonomy and relatedness. As technological innovations change the nature of work, self-determination theory can provide insight into how the resulting uncertainty and interdependence might influence worker motivation, performance and well-being. In this Review, we summarize what self-determination theory has brought to the domain of work and how it is helping researchers and practitioners to shape the future of work. We consider how the experiences of job candidates are influenced by the new technologies used to assess and select them, and how self-determination theory can help to improve candidate attitudes and performance during selection assessments. We also discuss how technology transforms the design of work and its impact on worker motivation. We then describe three cases where technology is affecting work design and examine how this might influence needs satisfaction and motivation: remote work, virtual teamwork and algorithmic management. An understanding of how future work is likely to influence the satisfaction of the psychological needs of workers and how future work can be designed to satisfy such needs is of the utmost importance to worker performance and well-being. Technology is changing the nature of work by enabling new forms of automation and communication. In this Review, Gagné et al. describe how self-determination theory can help researchers and practitioners to shape the future of work to ensure that it meets the psychological needs of workers.
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La gestion des ressources humaines (GRH) a pour objectif principal de réguler les collectifs de travail. Autrement dit, d’assurer la coordination des salarié·e·s, mais aussi de définir les conditions organisationnelles en vue de faciliter leur coopération. De nos jours, les pressions politiques, budgétaires et financières contribuent à rendre omniprésente la logique de recherche de la performance organisationnelle, y compris dans le domaine de la GRH. Les pratiques et processus de GRH doivent donc participer à cette quête de la performance. Dans le même temps, les professionnel·le·s impliqués dans la GRH de leur organisation doivent aussi s’assurer que les employé·e·s sont engagés, motivés et satisfaits de leurs activités et de leurs conditions de travail. Le bien-être constitue également un objectif important des missions d’un service des ressources humaines. Cette double dimension de la GRH n’est pas aisée à atteindre et n’est pas sans produire des tensions et des contradictions. Les contributions d'expert·e·s, de chercheurs·euses et de cadres, réunies dans cet ouvrage ont pour point commun de traiter de cette paire souhaitable, mais toujours difficile à atteindre: performance et bien-être dans nos organisations contemporaines. Cet ouvrage ainsi que sa thématique générale constituent une manière d’honorer le parcours académique du Professeur Yves Emery à l’occasion de son départ à la retraite. Ses apports à la discipline de la GRH, en Suisse et dans le monde francophone, ainsi que son approche humaniste de la discipline RH se reflètent à travers les chapitres de ce livre.
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic affected the work environment worldwide and forced companies to adopt work from home (WFH) suddenly. Objective: This study aims to identify factors that influence productivity in the WFH modality, considering the Brazilian scenario in the COVID-19 context. Methods: The approach used was a Delphi method with 19 specialists in the subject. Three rounds were conducted; in the third round, specialists indicated how the factor influences productivity through a scale. For the data collected in this last round, data was analysed via Grey Relational Analysis technique. Results: The results indicated that 17 factors could influence productivity in the WFH modality in the analysed context. Comparatively, the five factors with more capacity to influence productivity are 1) Availability of adequate equipment and peripherals to develop the work activities; 2) leadership support; 3) The adequate place to develop work activities; 4) Internet and electricity supply stability; and 5) Clarity from the collaborator regarding their role in the company, responsibilities and activities to be developed. The frequency analysis indicated that factors affect at least moderately productivity in WFH modality. Conclusions: This article contributes to increasing knowledge associated with the WFH modality in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The information present here can be used by academics and managers, even in a post-pandemic scenario, to debate productivity in remote work modalities.
Information and communication technologies supported by mobile devices (laptops, smartphones, tablets) have enhanced the ability for employees to stay connected with their companies outside working hours. However, we have little understanding of the implications for employees’ subjective well-being. This paper aims to analyze the impact of two forms of digital connection on subjective well-being: online communication through email and smartphone (communication technologies), and remote access to companies’ networks, i.e. files, management systems and software (information technologies). In order to asses this, we use a large survey on the working conditions and work quality of 14,685 employees in Luxembourg. Results show that being contacted frequently outside office hours has a negative impact on life satisfaction, whereas remote access to the companies’ networks is positively related to life satisfaction and negatively related to job stress.
p> W niniejszym artykule, na podstawie analizy polskiej i obcojęzycznej literatury przedmiotu, a także wyników badań empirycznych, starano się ukazać główne obszary badawcze istotne z punktu implementacji pracy zdalnej poprzez określenie stanu wiedzy na temat tej formy pracy w organizacjach przed pandemią COVID-19 oraz w trakcie jej trwania. W niniejszym opracowaniu wskazuje się na potrzebę regulacji w zakresie przepisów polskiego prawa dotyczącego pracy zdalnej. Akcentuje się istotę prowadzenia badań ukierunkowanych na ocenę warunków pracy pracowników zdalnych. Zarówno pod względem oddziałujących na nich czynników fizycznych, psychospołecznych, zdrowotnych, jak i równowagi pomiędzy życiem zawodowym i osobistym, a także w zakresie wydajności, motywacji, satysfakcji z pracy, zarządzania pracą zdalną i organizacją pracy pracowników zdalnych. Uzyskane wyniki badań prowadzonych w wymienionych obszarach badawczych, a także odpowiednie regulacje prawne i równowaga pomiędzy strefą korzyści i strat, zarówno dla pracodawcy, jak i dla pracownika w zakresie pracy zdalnej, otwierają drogę do urealnienia tej formy pracy na rynku zatrudnienia. </p
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Assessing reasonableness under section 8 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms inherently calls upon courts to balance the interests of the state with those of the individual. However, existing common law jurisprudence governing the reasonableness of searching the contents of Canadians’ personal electronic devices does not strike an appropriate balance between the individual’s reasonable expectation of privacy and the state’s interest in intruding upon that expectation to pursue the objectives of law enforcement. Most notably, the Supreme Court of Canada’s majority judgment in R v Fearon does not sit comfortably alongside fundamental aspects of the legal record, contrary to legal philosopher Ronald Dworkin’s theory of law as integrity. This suggests that a better constructive interpretation of the law is needed in order to determine the reasonableness of computer searches at customs, for instance by referring to how reasonableness is assessed in other constitutional contexts. Courts ought to apply a more robust proportionality analysis, like that developed under section 1 of the Charter, in order to demonstrate integrity and to make the law on search and seizure of electronic devices “the best that it can be.” This paper seeks to address the reasonableness and, by extension, the justness of searching the contents of electronic devices in a variety of contexts. It does this not from a normative, privacy-or-die mentality, but by starting with a proposition first advanced by Dworkin: that in the absence of complete agreement as to the justice or morality of adopting a particular interpretation of the law, judges can, do, and should demonstrate their commitment to act morally by acting with integrity — that is, by striving for coherence in their decision-making. Coherence does not guarantee that judges are, in fact, acting justly. However, when courts act incoherently, it suggests that they will only act morally by happenstance. Coherence is thus to be preferred. The relative incoherence in the way that Canada currently treats the search and seizure of electronic devices cannot be fully justified on the basis of the different contexts in which they occur, necessitating this quest for a better constructive interpretation of the law on search and seizure. Firstly, the paper begins by situating the issue of search and seizure of electronic devices by the state in its current social and legal context. Secondly, I use Dworkin’s interpretive theory of adjudication in order to frame a critique of the search incident to arrest doctrine as it has been applied to electronic devices, specifically cell phones. Thirdly, after establishing that the Supreme Court of Canada’s approach to electronic devices in the search incident to arrest context fails to provide the best constructive interpretation of the law as a whole, I consider how this lesson can and should inform the law’s development in the border context. This analysis draws from the Supreme Court of Canada’s jurisprudence on the “reasonable limits” clause at section 1 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as well as the Court’s more recent application of a “robust” reasonableness standard in discretionary administrative decisions that engage Charter protections. Lastly, I offer proportionality theory as a potential lodestar for assessing the reasonableness of a law that authorizes computer searches by customs officials without any reasonable grounds.
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Electronic performance monitoring (EPM) refers to the use of technological means to observe, record, and analyze information that directly or indirectly relates to job performance. The last comprehensive review of the EPM literature was published in 2000. Since 2000, dramatic advances in information technologies have created an environment in which organizations are able to monitor employees to a greater extent and with greater intensity than was previously possible. Moreover, since that time, considerable research has been devoted to understanding the effects of EPM on individual performance and attitudes. Contradictory findings in the EPM literature exist, suggesting that EPM is a multidimensional phenomenon and one for which contextual and psychological variables are pertinent. Thus, we propose a theory-based typology of EPM characteristics and use this typology as a framework to review the EPM literature and identify an agenda for future research and practice.
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Organisations increasingly adopt tracking technologies that allow managers to continuously collect highly detailed records of employee, performance, and health. Based on the theory of planned behavior, we aim to identify attitudes, functions of monitoring, and control perceptions which should strengthen or lower employees’ acceptance of these technologies. Our experimental vignette study among 800 respondents in Germany reveals that acceptance is more likely if employees have positive attitudes towards surveillance in general and towards monitoring in private life and if the technologies enhance labour productivity. The tendency to reject the technology increases if it is to be used for monitoring health and performance. The results indicate that these new technologies will not be accepted unconditionally and may be subject to bargaining and conflicts. In the implementation process, human resources departments will have to take account of employee interests and well-being, which in turn may improve acceptance and performance.
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Drawing data from more than 2,000 US citizens, the current article focuses on empirically derived citizens’ public values. Objectives include: (1) to provide and analyse empirical data on citizens’ specific views about what does and does not constitute a public value, (2) to distinguish between ‘Contested’ and ‘Consensus’ public values; (3) to suggest some implications of citizens’ public value assessment in terms of their theoretical meaning; (4) to compare expressed vs. enacted public values (based on decision vignettes). Findings show widespread agreement about a handful of putative public values, but when enacted in vignettes responses are inconsistent.
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The Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable "searches and seizures," but in the digital age of stingray devices and IP tracking, what constitutes a search or seizure? The Supreme Court has held that the threshold question depends on and reflects the "reasonable expectations" of ordinary members of the public concerning their own privacy. For example, the police now exploit the "third party" doctrine to access data held by email and cell phone providers, without securing a warrant, on the Supreme Court's intuition that the public has no expectation of privacy in that information. Is that assumption correct? If judges' intuitions about privacy do not reflect actual public expectations, it may undermine the legitimacy of the criminal justice system, exacerbate social unrest, and produce unjust outcomes. participants of the University of Arizona Quantlaw Conference for their helpful comments. Finally, we would like to thank the Hughes Research and Development Committee at the University of Denver which provided both guidance and funding.
Responding to COVID‐19 presents unprecedented challenges for public sector practitioners and addressing those challenges requires knowledge about the problems public sector workers face. This Viewpoint essay argues that timely, up‐to‐date surveys of public sector workers are an essential tool for identifying problems, resolving bottlenecks and enabling public sector workers to operate effectively during and in response to the challenges posed by the global pandemic. This article presents the COVID‐19 Survey of Public Servants, which is currently rolled out in several countries by the Global Survey of Public Servants Consortium to assist governments in strategically compiling evidence to operate effectively during the COVID‐19 pandemic. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Social distancing is an effective means for containing the spread of COVID‐19, but only so if we all participate. Who are the individuals who are the least likely to adhere to social distancing recommendations, presently and in the long‐term? Such knowledge is important for policymakers looking to sustain the public's buy‐in to social distancing. Using survey data from sample U.S. residents (n = 1,449), we show that some demographic factors (gender, age, race, political party) help predict intent to adhere to social distancing. Yet demographic factors are relatively poor predictors compared to individual attitudes and media diets. We argue that public officials should make efforts to inform and persuade the public of the importance of social distancing, targeting mediums like TV and radio where audiences are less likely to currently engage in social distancing or are less likely to envision themselves sustaining strict social distancing for several weeks or months. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
This millennium began with widespread acceptance of a governing paradigm emphasizing small government, free markets and open borders. Three crises – the 9/11 attacks, the 2008 financial crisis, and the 2020 COVID‐19 pandemic – forced American policymakers to diverge from this paradigm. At the time, these divergences were described as temporary departures from normalcy. In retrospect, it would be more accurate to regard the millennial paradigm itself as the abnormality: as a model of governance designed for rare moments of calm. In the last two decades, a different paradigm has emerged. American government has become the ultimate bearer of societal risks. Repeatedly, it has adopted extraordinary measures to protect public safety and the economy. However, the American state lacks the capacity to anticipate and manage these massive risks competently. New capabilities are required, along with a new mentality about governing. Domestic politics will complicate the task of building these capabilities. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Recent research shows that monitoring and surveillance of workers in Canada is increasing. The Canadian Federal Government, at the same time, is calling for increased access to proprietary databases for lawful purposes. Employers therefore face a distinct possibility that their monitoring and surveillance data will be routinely accessed by various government and law enforcement agencies. Since in many provinces workers enjoy little legal protection of their right to a private life, and since new legal protective measures are unlikely, employers must look to their role as socially responsible members of a liberal and democratic society, and respect the rule of law by minimizing their collection of personal worker information. © 2007, Canadian Law and Society Association. All rights reserved.
The paper illustrates and discusses how the performance management systems in a UK local authority are transformed into a surveillance system. A case study analysis reveals that the surveillance is engendered by central government and enacted by senior managers who conform to policies demanding the introduction of strict performance management systems that dehumanize work processes because employees are deemed untrustworthy. The paper shows that employees resist this government rendered surveillance because they believe it undermines their interests as well as the interests of the public by damaging the quality of the services delivered.