While self-monitoring technology enables individuals to learn about
Of all the types of persuasive technology tools in this chapter, surveillance technology is the most common in today’s
As early as 1993, one researcher
Applying computing technology to observe others’ behavior
is one example of a surveillance technology. The system (Figure 3.7), which
Figure 3.7: Hygiene Guard is a surveillance system that tracks employee hand washing.
Another example of surveillance technology is AutoWatch, a computer system that enables parents to monitor the driving behavior of their children. [36 ] (Makers of this system suggest AutoWatch can also let you monitor how employees drive corporate vehicles.) According to company literature, AutoWatch is a “little black box” that records driving speed, starts and stops, and other data. Parents can then remove the device from the vehicle and download the information to a PC.
At first glance, AutoWatch seems a reasonable idea: Parents should be able to monitor how their children drive. However, the product literature suggests that parents “conceal the AutoWatch unit under the dash or under the seat.”
AutoWatch is a
technology when installed this way. When used covertly, AutoWatch is no longer a persuasive technology because its goal is not to motivate or influence; it’s just
Contrast this with a covert installation of AutoWatch. How will teens be motivated to avoid driving recklessly if they don’t know their driving is being monitored by AutoWatch? When used covertly, AutoWatch is geared toward
While surveillance technologies may use the threat of punishment to change behavior, they also can be designed to motivate people through the promise of rewards. For example, parents could use the AutoWatch system to reward their teens for driving safely, perhaps providing teens with gas money for future driving.
In terms of workplace surveillance, several companies have created systems that track employee behavior and reward them for doing what their company wants done. [38 ] (Rather than calling these products “surveillance systems,” companies may refer to them as “incentive systems” or “incentive management technology.” [39 ] )
An Illinois-based company called Cultureworx has created a product that can track employee behavior throughout the day. And it can reward employees who do things that meet company policies or help boost the bottom line. If a company wants employees in its call centers to use its customer relationship management (CRM) software, inputting customer information and results of each customer contact, the Cultureworx system can track employee performance along these lines. The harshness of tracking employees this way is softened somewhat because the surveillance system gives points that can be exchanged online for products from places like Eddie Bauer and Toys R Us. (However, it’s not clear to what extent employees would embrace such a system simply because it offers rewards.)
While surveillance can be effective in changing behavior, in many cases it leads to public compliance without private acceptance. Some theorists describe this as “compliance versus internalization.”
People will behave in a prescribed way if they know they are being observed, but they will not continue the behavior when they are no longer being
The real power in surveillance technology lies in preventing infractions; surveillance should focus on deterrence, not punishment. Even so, using surveillance as a motivating tool is not the most noble approach to persuasion, even when it
[30 ] The “Like’s Gone” concept was created by captology students Marissa Treinen, Salvador Avila, and TatianaMejia.
Strictly speaking, surveillance technology is not interactive in the way I’ve described other interactive computing products to this point; these products focus on interactivity between the technology and the end
[32 ] K. Bell DeTienne, Big brother or friendly coach? Computer monitoring in the 21st century, The Futurist, pp. 33–37 (1993).
[34 ] Jennifer Granick, Big Brother: Your boss, Wired (July 1998 ).
The American Management Association (AMA) conducts an annual survey of workplace testing and monitoring. For a summary of its recent results, showing the increased prevalence of workplace monitoring and surveillance since 1997, see
[36 ] J. C. Turner, Social Influence (Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole, 1991).
[37 ] Hygiene Guard is produced by Net/Tech International in New Jersey.
[38 ] For more information on AutoWatch, see http://drivehomesafe.com/control_teendriver_speeding_driverlicense2.htm.
[39 ] The user manual for AutoWatch suggests various ways to conceal this device. To see an online version of the manual, go to http://www.obd2.com/pdffiles/Userawfw.pdf.
[40 ] For a long list of companies that provide incentive management solutions, see http://www.workindex.com/extrefs.asp?SUBCATID=1714.
[41 ] For a brief article explaining incentive management in call centers, see http://www.callcentermagazine.com/article/CCM20010627S0002.