Too Much Workplace Data? Not So, Experts Say

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a2There’s no shortage of studies and surveys these days on workplace trends, covering everything from gender biases and generational proclivities to when, where, and how workers are productive, stressed, engaged, or motivated. In his column this week, the Chicago Tribune’s Rex Huppke found himself “drowning” in a river of research, asking: Are we overanalyzing the workplace? He spoke with JOM_v38_72ppiRGB_150pixWJournal of Management editor Deborah Rupp, the William C. Byham Chair in Industrial/Organizational Psychology at Purdue University, who eloquently explained why workplace studies are so abundant and why the data matters:

She quoted William Faulkner: “You can’t eat eight hours a day nor drink for eight hours a day nor make love for eight hours — all you can do for eight hours is work.”

“Work is just a very pervasive part of the human experience,” Rupp said. “People are now working more than they’re doing everything else, except maybe sleeping. But in a lot of cases not even sleeping. It’s the venue in which we’re carrying out our lives.”

So this intense study is, in Rupp’s opinion, a good thing. And it marks a significant change in concern for our overall well-being.

For ages, the primary focus of workplace monitoring was to figure out how to squeeze as much work out of people as possible. The concept of “work” and “life” melding together is, in the grand scheme of things, relatively new.

Click here to read Rex Huppke’s article in the Chicago Tribune. Learn more about the Journal of Management by visiting the JOM home page here, and keep up with important issues in management by following the JOM Editor’s Choice collections.

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