Colloquium: Brenda L. Berkelaar, "Cybervetting, Online Information, and Personnel Selection New Transparency Expectations and the Emergence of a Digital Social Contract"


Brenda L. Berkelaar from UT Communication Studies will be giving a talk titled "Cybervetting, Online Information, and Personnel Selection New Transparency Expectations and the Emergence of a Digital Social Contract."


This study examines employers? and workers? sensemaking about cybervetting?employers? use of online information for personnel selection. Analysis of 89 employer and applicant interviews suggest a shift in the social contract?the implicit expectations for how personnel selection and employment relationships should work. Results suggest an extension of new proactive transparency expectations from organizations to workers, the implicit acceptance of which points to the emergence of a digital social contract. The digital social contract prescribes normative expectations for workers? digital visibility, thereby extending the times and contexts within which employment evaluations and career management occur. Using a communicative perspective to address research gaps on everyday ethics, practices, and technologies of personnel selection, contributions include introducing and explicating the digital social contract, documenting the extension of new transparency expectations to individuals, and explicating ethical and practical implications of new technologies and information visibility on contemporary personnel selection.



Dr. Brenda L. Berkelaar (Ph.D., Purdue University) studies work and careers, in particular how new communication technologies such as social media influence our understandings and practices of work and career. This research includes her ongoing examination of cybervetting?the use of online information to assess the expertise and reputation of current and prospective employees. A complementary line of research focuses on careers across the lifespan and across cultures. This research is reflected in a collaborative, funded multinational project with children from multiple countries. Her research and teaching address the skills, ethics, and literacies associated with career development and informal learning, personnel selection and online screening, socialization, the meanings of work, and the presentation and interpretation(s) of self and information online.

Dr. Berkelaar?s work appears in publications such as Communication Monographs, Management Communication Quarterly, and Communication Yearbook, as well as a number of edited books. Prior to academia, Brenda worked in information technology, non-profits, and as an independent consultant. Drawing from her research interests, work experience, and background in online learning, Brenda currently teaches an original hybrid/blended course that focuses on career theory and practices in the contemporary work environment.



8:15pm to 9:30pm


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