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Wearable surveillance – a step too far?

Mike Weston (Profusion, London, UK)

Strategic HR Review

ISSN: 1475-4398

Article publication date: 9 November 2015




This paper aims to look at the benefits, risks and ethics behind introducing wearable sensors into the workplace. There are expected to be more than three billion wearable sensors worldwide by 2025 (Hayward and Chansin, 2015). The emergence of technology that has the capability to closely monitor employees has provoked widespread ethical debate (Joseph et al., 2015, p. 244).


The author undertook a review of the current wearable devices on the market, the impact of previous technological innovations on workplaces and the possible impact of wearable devices on organisations.


Wearable technology has the potential to increase productivity. Businesses that embrace these devices are likely to become leaders in their industries (Li, 2015, p. 4). However, any move to use wearable devices in the workplace must be undertaken with sensitivity, and it is recommended that employee participation in wearables programmes is initially voluntary. Businesses must also ensure employees understand how the data collected will be used, who has access to the data and how it is stored. Use of a third party to collect and analyse the information is recommended as an extra security and privacy measure.


The work contained in this paper has not been replicated elsewhere.



Weston, M. (2015), "Wearable surveillance – a step too far?", Strategic HR Review, Vol. 14 No. 6, pp. 214-219.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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