Watching Me, Watching You. (Process Surveillance and Agency in the Workplace)

Sally A.  Applin
University of Kent, Canterbury, UK – CSAC

Michael D. Fischer
University of Kent, Canterbury, UK – CSAC

The notion that computers are somehow separate from our lives is misleading and ignores the level of integration that has emerged. Most of the processes that dispense, load, and deliver the supplies that sustain cosmopolitan life are impacted by some form of computer in one way or another. The systems created when networks of computers intersect with networks of people are shaping our current cultural environment and the way that we exist in the world. This phenomena has created multiple types of interactions that are hybrids between humans and machines and at present, the balance of human behavior towards other humans is impacted by processes in business and elsewhere that have an over arching governance based on machines. This limits human agency and impacts understanding, service and privacy rights for humans. Further, these processes increasingly depend on greater and greater quantities of what had previously been considered personal information, often scraped from online processes people do not anticipate, yielding an often revealing portrait of themselves. Also, a poorly configured paradigm has created a culture where, when systems are required for big business, people more often alter their behavior to suit machines and work with them, rather than the other way around, and that this has eroded conceptions of agency. We explore the use of Thing-theory to implement a partial means of implementing mutual surveillance between management and workers to increase human agency while developing more adaptive and efficient business processes.

polysocial reality
multi-agent simulation