Integrating social scientific perspectives on the quantified employee self

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

A key technological trend in big data science is that of the quantified self, whereby individuals can self-track their health and well-being using various sources of information. The aim of this article was to integrate multidimensional views on the positive and negative implications of the quantified self for employees and workplaces. Relevant human and social scientific literature on the quantified (employee) self and self-tracking were drawn upon and organized into three main influential perspectives. Specifically, the article identified (1) psychological perspectives on quantified attitudes and behaviors, (2) sociological perspectives on sociomaterial user construction, and (3) critical theoretical perspectives on digital power and control. This article suggests that the three perspectives are complementary and can be usefully integrated into an embodied sensemaking perspective. Embodied sensemaking views the employee as a self-conscious user of big data seeking to make sense of their embeddedness in wider digital and organizational environments. This article concludes with implications for protecting employee agency in tension with employers’ big data strategies for governing and managing the performance of quantified digital employee selves.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)262-281
Number of pages19
JournalSocial Sciences
Volume8
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sep 2019

Keywords

  • quantified self
  • well-being
  • employees
  • self-tracking
  • big data
  • sensemaking

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