People Analytics: Using Digital Exhaust from the Web to Leverage Network Insights in the Algorithmically Infused Workplace

Tuesday, 23 November 2021, 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. on Zoom

In order to bring the performance of people analytics in the algorithmically infused workplace up—and in line with the hype—organizations need to do more than analyze data on demographic attributes. We need to focus not only on who people are but also who they know. The potential for social network analysis to identify “high potentials,” who has good ideas, who is influential, what teams will get work done efficiently and effectively is well established based on decades of research. The challenge has been the collection of network data via surveys that are time consuming, elicit low response rates and have a high obsolescence. This talk presented empirical examples ranging from corporate enterprises to simulated long duration space exploration to demonstrate how we can leverage people analytics–and in particular relational analytics—to mine “digital exhaust”—data created by individuals every day in their digital transactions, such as e‐mails, chats, “likes,” “follows,” @mentions, and file collaboration—to address challenges they face with issues such as team conflict, team assembly, diversity and inclusion, succession planning, and post-merger integration.

Noshir Contractor has been at the forefront of three emerging interdisciplines: network science, computational social science and web science. He is investigating how social and knowledge networks form— and perform—in contexts including business, scientific communities, healthcare and space travel.  His book Theories of Communication Networks (co-authored with Peter Monge) received the 2003 Book of the Year award from the Organizational Communication Division of the National Communication Association and the 2021 International Communication Association’s Fellows Book Award. He also received the Distinguished Scholar Award from the National Communication Association and the Lifetime Service Award from the Organizational Communication & Information Systems Division of the Academy of Management.

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Organized by Centre for Media and Communication Research and Research Postgraduate Studies Program, School of Communication and Film