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Using “Big Data” in “Human Resource Organizing Systems”

When I defined an "Organizing System" in The Discipline of Organizing as "an intentionally arranged collection of resources" I recognized that this could also apply to people-as-resources in the familiar sense of "human resources." So as I said in Section 1.2.2, "We might discuss how human resources are selected, organized, and managed over time just as we might discuss these activities with respect to library resources." But I decided that "these topics are much more appropriate for texts on human resources management and industrial organization so we will not consider them much further in this book."

Now I'm not so sure. I've recently seen stories about the emergence of "work-force science" as a discipline that applies data analysis to HR management. For example, Steve Lohr wrote "Big Data, Trying to Build Better Workers" for the NY Times ( and described how some firms are analyzing patterns of workforce communication and document creation to characterize the efficiency and innovativeness of their employees. A firm called Ultimate Software offers software that analyzes data about employees to calculate how likely they are to leave the firm (a "Retention Predictor"). And of course academics are familiar with the use of the h-index ( as a "big data" measure of their productivity and impact based on the patterns and number of citations their most cited papers have received.

If big data and analytics are to become more important in human resources management, the design of the "resource descriptions" for the human resources is a critical acticity. So I think The Discipline of Organizing has to expand in scope to accommodate this.

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