Social presence and dishonesty: perceptions from security guards

Susan Siebenaler, Andrea Szymkowiak*, Paul Robertson, Graham Johnson, Jan Law

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Citations (Scopus)
200 Downloads (Pure)


Self-service technologies within retail enable customers to scan, bag and pay for their items independent from staff involvement. The use of self-service, due to its nature of reducing social interaction between customers and staff, has been implicated in creating opportunities for thefts to occur. However, the perception of social presence, such as induced by surveillance, induces customers to show more prosocial behavior. As security personnel are at the forefront to deal with dishonest customers, we conducted semi-structured interviews with security guards in two major supermarkets in the UK to assess factors surrounding theft, with a view to identify operational or technological opportunities to address theft. Our findings show that the perceived motivational and situational factors contributing to theft are complex. We conclude that surveillance in its current form does not appear to provide a sufficient social presence to prevent potential theft at self-service checkouts (SCOs). Future research could focus on additional surveillance measures to induce social presence, such as technological implementations in the SCO itself.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHCI in business, government and organizations
Subtitle of host publicationSupporting Business - 4th International Conference, HCIBGO 2017 Held as Part of HCI International 2017, Proceedings
EditorsFiona Fui-Hoon Nah, Chuan-Hoo Tan
Place of PublicationCham
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9783319584843
ISBN (Print)9783319584836
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event4th International Conference on HCI in Business, Government and Organizations: Supporting Business - Vancouver Convention Centre, Vancouver, Canada
Duration: 9 Jul 201714 Jul 2017
Conference number: 4th

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference4th International Conference on HCI in Business, Government and Organizations
Abbreviated titleHCIBGO 2017
Internet address


  • Self-service
  • Social presence
  • Surveillance
  • Retail


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