Employee or Datapoint?
A recent investigation by The New York Times revealed the ways Amazon measures and monitors employees at its headquarters, crunching data to reveal who is most efficient and deserving of promotion—and who isn’t. But this gamification of the workplace is far from new. As Esther Kaplan and Karen Levy write, UPS drivers, truckers, authors, and retail clerks are also subjected to the tracking power of technology—and the outcomes aren’t always good. And some workplaces are outfitting employees with wearables, which Andre Spicer argues isn’t always an effective—or ethical—solution.
Esther Kaplan as an editor at The Investigative Fund, a non-profit reporting workshop in New York, New York.
Karen Levy is a fellow at the Data and Society Research Institute in New York, New York.
Andre Spicer is a professor of organizational behavior at City University London’s Cass Business School, in London, England.
Pacific Standard: The Future of Work: What Isn’t Counted Counts
Marketplace: The Data-Driven Workplace of the Future
Harper’s: The Spy Who Fired Me: The Human Costs of Workplace Monitoring
CNN: What Jeff Bezos Learned From Chairman Mao
The Guardian: The Flaw in Amazon’s Management Fad
Harvard Business Review: What Companies Should Ask Before Embracing Wearables
Christopher Intagliata was Science Friday’s senior producer. He once served as a prop in an optical illusion and speaks passable Ira Flatowese.