Saints Talk: Workplace Surveillance

Risks, Well being and Justice
Tuesday, March 28, 2023 - 17:15

CRISP Director Kirstie Ball will deliver next week's Saints Talk at the University of St Andrews. The event takes place on MS Teams, 28th March 2023 at 5.15pm GMT.  You can register to attend at this link.


When we hear the word ‘surveillance’ we might be tempted to think about spies, big brother and malign forces watching from afar. In this talk we start with a different idea: that surveillance is part of being modern.

In this talk Kirstie examines how to ensure the equitable and just treatment of employees, protect their wellbeing and maintain the boundaries of their work and private lives in the face of intensified workplace surveillance.

In work organisations, employee surveillance facilitates the employment contract. It lets employers know who is doing what and when and lets employees know how well they are doing. Yet if it is too intrusive, excessive or authoritarian it rapidly becomes counterproductive for both parties.

There is an established body of knowledge about how to minimise the risks to employees of excessive surveillance while they work. Yet it has taken a global pandemic to highlight its dangers, as organisations became seduced by the potential insights gained by monitoring employees and overlooked these known risks.


Professor Kirstie Ball LLB, MSc, PhD is Professor of Management at the University of St Andrews. She is Director of the Centre for Research into Information, Surveillance and Privacy (CRISP), Visiting Professor at the Coventry Centre for Business and Society and a member of the Institute for the Future of Work. She has consulted to and advised Parliamentary Committee Enquiries, the UK information Commissioners Office, the European Commission, Trade Unions, Tech Companies and the media on workplace surveillance.