Data Analytics in People Management

Why am I wary about the use of data analytics in OD/People Management? Let me count the ways…

Human systems are dynamic while people surveys are temporary and static (ie, at best they only provide a snap shot in time).

Management by data analysis is a disembodied form of organising. It focusses on numbers and statistical analysis rather than real experiences.

It is based on on scientific assumptions of how the world/people works. Organising as quantitative science rather than qualitative human knowing.

It’s unrelational. Data doesn’t take account of quality of relationships and social effects of politics, power).

Benchmarking data against other organisations is uncontextual. We don’t know the context behind the stats of other orgs, so data is treated unrealistically as ‘ceteris paribus’, when we know its not.

It’s based on notion that truth is objective and discoverable through scientific/statistical endeavour rather than subjective and socially constructed.

It’s based on belief that the analyser can be separated from the analysed when everything is connected.

It is based on individual, logical rationalism rather than communitarian sense-making.

It’s is based on the assumption that the analyser can be neutral and unbiased.

Author: gohbyname

A Chartered Fellow of the CIPD, I am a systemic Personnel practitioner. I've worked in the private (British Airways), public (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singapore), and most recently in the third sector (International charity). My current work involves delivering HR and OD at a strategic level. Operationally, I have a working knowledge of all aspects of HR & OD, including employee engagement, talent and diversity retention, employment and immigration law, TUPE, learning & development and recruitment both in a UK and international setting.

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