PurposeThe 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/approachThe 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.FindingsThe 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/implicationsThis 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 implicationsThe paper offers suggestions for resistance to compliance and data processing initiatives in HE.Originality/valueThis 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.
Online Information Review – Emerald Publishing
Published: Oct 14, 2019
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