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‘It’s so fake’: Identity performances and cynicism within a people analytics team
journal contributionposted on 28.09.2021, 10:48 by Nina JordenNina Jorden, Dan SageDan Sage, Clive TrussonClive Trusson
This article reports on a participant ethnography of a people analytics (PA) team operating within the human resources (HR) function of a European multinational corporation at the cutting edge of PA development. Despite their analytical expertise, this team experienced significant dissonance between their desired image of PA work and the actualities of PA practice. Our analysis explains this dissonance through two prevalent identity performance scripts: ‘customerization’ and ‘actionorientation’. Taken together these scripts were identified as having a restrictive impact on the production of more scientifically rigorous PA work. Further, both of these scripts were found to be imbued with cynicism, whereby PA practitioners distance themselves from the commercial presentation of their work outputs. The article reveals how management preferencing of presentational and commercial considerations over those of scientific rigour may result in a failure to generate the level oforganisational benefits promoted by the optimistic accounts in current literature, with negative implications for the reputational profile of PA.
- Business and Economics