Breaking the Vicious Cycle of Algorithmic Management: A Virtue Ethics Approach to People Analytics

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Abstract

The increasing use of People Analytics to manage people in organizations ushers in an era of algorithmic management. People analytics are said to allow decision-makers to make evidence-based, bias-free, and objective decisions, and expand workers' opportunities for personal and professional growth. Drawing on a virtue ethics approach, we argue that the use of people analytics in organizations can create a vicious cycle of ethical challenges - algorithmic opacity, datafication, and nudging - which limit people's ability to cultivate their virtue and flourish. We propose that organizations can mitigate these challenges and help workers develop their virtue by reframing people analytics as a fallible companion technology, introducing new organizational roles and practices, and adopting alternative technology design principles. We discuss the implications of this approach for organizations and for the design of people analytics, and propose directions for future research.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100301
JournalInformation and Organization
Volume30
Issue number2
Number of pages15
ISSN1471-7727
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020

Keywords

  • People analytics
  • Virtue ethics
  • Algorithmic management

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