(By Joe Koletar) The Wall Street Journal carried an article concerning the possible future of employment in an organization (“You Aren’t a Human, You’re a Data Point.” 2/17/15, page B-1).
It appears some top executives want a digital dashboard which will inform them who is at their desk and how happy they are about their work. Some believe this capability, if achieved, will replace something old and creaky: The Human Resources Department. Employees may come to be viewed as mere elements in the supply chain, just like copier paper and light bulbs.
By accessing emails, personal calendars, measuring internal networks, and likely more as development continues, the intent seems to be to boil down the old questions of “..who’s naughty and who’s nice..” to a series of electronic blips. Or, in the the words of one developer of such services, to turn managers into “people geeks,” by quantifying that old and murky idea of “corporate culture.”
Some commentary, based on my two years of Vietnam Era service, and my forty years as a manager and executive in the public and private sectors:
I don’t like being under surveillance. What part of my life is still mine, and what part have I sold to you? Is it spelled out my contract?
Am I “happy” about my work for the reasons you presume? Could it be my kid’s school performance, my spouse’s spending, or the fact my favorite sports team is having a terrible year? I guess you have a right to know these things. Am I correct? (Probably included in my employment contract, yes?)
Temper your joy, managerial “people geeks;” you’re probably going to be next. If they can get rid of actual “people” at one level, why not the level above it? Ask not for whom the bell tolls. (John Donne, a mere human being, once wrote that, believe it or not.) Too bad a computer didn’t dream it up. (P.S.: Do computers “dream,” or is that just a human thing?)
Envision the field of battle. The computer spits out short text: “Advance. Seize objective. Be brave.”
We wouldn’t have needed that tall guy in the funny hat at Gettysburg.
Fair warning: Take leadership, however erratic it may be, out of the system at your own risk. Let your computer convince a young private who makes perhaps $700 a month to follow you through the gates of Hell.
Have a nice day.
(That’s an order.)
Join us for more insights into behavioral forensics (behind fraud and similar white collar crimes) from the authors of ABCs of Behavioral Forensics (Wiley, 2013): Sri Ramamoorti, Ph. D., Daven Morrison, M.D., and Joe Koletar, D.P.A., along with Vic Hartman, J.D. These distinguished experts come from the disciplines of psychology, medicine, accounting, law, and law enforcement to explain and prevent fraud. Because we are inspired to bring to light and address the fraud problems in today’s headlines, we encourage our readers to come back and revisit us regularly at BringingFreudtoFraud.com.