To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

The compliant environment: Conformity, data processing and increasing inequality in UK higher education

Penny Andrews (School of Information, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK)

Online Information Review

ISSN: 1468-4527

Article publication date: 24 September 2019

Issue publication date: 9 October 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present the concept of institutions as compliant environments, using data to monitor and enforce compliance with a range of external policies and initiatives, using the particular example of UK higher education (HE) institutions. The paper differs from previous studies by bringing together a range of policies and uses of data covering different areas of HE and demonstrating how they contribute to the common goal of compliance.

Design/methodology/approach

The compliant environment is defined in this context and the author has applied the preliminary model to a range of policies and cases that use and reuse data from staff and students in HE.

Findings

The findings show that the focus on compliance with these policies and initiatives has resulted in a high level of surveillance of staff and students and a lack of resistance towards policies that work against the goals of education and academia.

Research limitations/implications

This is the first study to bring together the range of areas in which policy compliance and data processing are entwined in HE. The study contributes to the academic literature on data and surveillance and on academic institutions as organisations.

Practical implications

The paper offers suggestions for resistance to compliance and data processing initiatives in HE.

Originality/value

This is the first study to bring together the range of areas in which policy compliance and data processing are entwined in HE. The study contributes to the academic literature on data and surveillance and on academic institutions as organisations.

Keywords

Citation

Andrews, P. (2019), "The compliant environment: Conformity, data processing and increasing inequality in UK higher education", Online Information Review, Vol. 43 No. 6, pp. 1063-1079. https://doi.org/10.1108/OIR-09-2018-0284

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited