Academic journal article Journal of Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Issues

Resistance or Acquiescence: Student Perception of Software Surveillance during a Team-Based Simulation

Academic journal article Journal of Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Issues

Resistance or Acquiescence: Student Perception of Software Surveillance during a Team-Based Simulation

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Individuals in the 21st century are surrounded by technology in all facets of their lives; in their homes, schools, and places of employment. With the surging popularity of technology over the last two decades, surveillance systems have emerged that enable monitoring and tracking of on-line behavior. Surveillance is viewed as watching or observing a participant in an effort to keep track of their progress with the intention of supervising and guiding their behavior (Lyon, 2007). This trend has been on the rise over the course of the last decade (Scherer, 2013). The combination of computer and communications technologies and their entry into the market has produced the possibility for individuals to not only be the object of surveillance, but its subject as well (Berkko, 2009, p. 63). Reliance on technologies has placed users in a constant state of observance (Ahituv, Bach, Birnhack, Soffer, & Luoto, 2014). Tech savvy students in universities across the globe today will transition into the workplace tomorrow. As this transition occurs, an embedded code of ethics should accompany them. Exposing students to performance under surveillance while engaging with enterprise systems will help encourage, and foster, ethical behavior which will set them up for long-term professional success.

Recording and capturing data enables observers, in a variety of settings, to gain insight regarding different phenomenon. Therefore, the potential benefits which could be realized from collecting the computer activity of users is far reaching. In the workplace, surveillance popularity has increased (Introna, 2000). In some instances, surveillance systems have been known to create anxiety and suspicion of those under study (Vorvoreanu & Botan, 2001) and had adverse effects on productivity (Douthitt & Aiello, 2001; Stanton & Barnes-Farrell, 1996). In other more recent investigations, individuals uninformed of the monitoring protocol displayed a greater degree of self-regulation when they were unaware their on-line activity was under surveillance (Dawson, Burnett, & McArdle, 2005). Employees' attitudes remained high and they appeared more productive when they assumed their work was being self-managed. There remains a level of uncertainty regarding the impact surveillance has on user attitude and as a result efficiency in the workplace.

There are few studies to date that evaluate the impact surveillance has in an academic setting, especially on user attitude and the perceived impact on behavior in a laboratory setting. This study investigated the impact of surveillance systems used in the laboratory of an undergraduate course offered in the supply chain management technology program at a major Midwestern university. Exploring this phenomenon in the context of higher education is important to understand the perception of surveillance on Millennials. Millennial learners refer to individuals born between 1980 and 2000 who have regularly experienced the pervasiveness of technology throughout their lives. Gaining insight regarding the use of survaillance with this user group is important since these individuals are migrating into the workforce. Investigating the reasons behind their tolerance, or intolerance enables their voice to be heard. This is an aspect of surveillance often overlooked (Vorvoreanu& Botan, 2001). Understanding the impact of technological tools in an academic setting can shed light on acceptance in a corporate setting (de Pablos & de Pablos, 2007).

The surveillance software was used to monitor student behavior during a team based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) simulation that uses industry specific software. With the simulation mimicking scenarios students will encounter in the workplace, it afforded a relevant forum to observe and investigate the impact surveillance. This topic is of special interest to business curriculum because most of the students will graduate and assume corporate level positions, many of which will be subject to electronic surveillance. …

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