Covert Video Surveillance Applications for Employee Theft Detection: Why is This Controversial?

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Do covert video surveillance applications, effectively contribute to traditional overt methods of employee theft detection, and why is this approach controversial? A study within the workplace of a UK national retail superstore. Research Proposal

Employee theft is a pervasive and expensive problem to businesses; it is considerably hard to detect and precise numbers on the scale of the problem are generally difficult to attain (Beck and Peacock, 2009). Professor Joshua Bamfield published his estimate on the Centre for Retail Research website, that the cost to UK retailers resulting from employee theft during 2011 was £1,765 million (Bamfield, 2012). The magnitude of employee theft, and its associated cost burden on an international level, was highlighted following the latest worldwide shrinkage survey. The Global Retail Theft Barometer 2011 survey was conducted throughout 43 countries. This included participants from leading retailers in all business sectors with combined sales of $948 billion. The survey showed a value of $119 billion towards a range of shrinkage issues, but perhaps the most staggering amount was the 35% or $41.65 billion from this shrinkage figure, which was thought to result from employee theft (Bamfield, 2011). Companies have attempted to address the impact of this internal threat to their business assets, by considering all the crime prevention methods available to them. Of course, there is a plethora of preventative measures used by organisations in their effort to prevent employee theft in today’s workplace. However, since employees normally conduct their unscrupulous activities in secret, traditional crime prevention measures are sometimes insufficient to identify the culprit (Tackett, 2008). Employers will occasionally turn to a surreptitious approach to tackle this problem. However, it is a company's use of covert video surveillance that continues to be a contentious issue, with regard to the opening of the Pandora’s box of...
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