Surveillance at the Workplace

Surveillance at the Workplace

As new digital tools increasingly change the nature and the practice of work, legal and social challenges related to surveillance of employees at work require more attention from academia. Contact centers are among the workplaces that have been particularly shaped by various digital surveillance technologies. Because of the highly digitized nature of their work, contact centers’ employees are closely monitored by their employers to measure performance – down to details such as keystrokes on the computer, duration and content of interaction with the customer and log of all breaks.

In this interdisciplinary research project supported by the German-Polish Science Foundation, we examine processes of normalization of new surveillance technologies in contact centers. From a legal perspective, we study how these processes of normalization are affected by the relevant laws and regulations, as well as policy debates. From a social-scientific perspective, we survey the role of employees in defining the norms and values related to technological surveillance.

Through a parallel research in Poland and Germany, the study provides a basis for investigating similarities and differences of changing cultural norms and values in these two neighboring European societies.We will conduct a literature review and a legal analysis in order to identify all relevant legal provisions governing workplace surveillance in both countries. Drawing on in-depth interviews with selected experts and employees in each country, we will gain understanding of the norms and values of key stakeholders.

Research team


The research is supported by the German-Polish Science Foundation – Deutsch-Polnische Wissenschaftsstiftung (DWPS)