Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
Sociology, Social Policy and CriminologyPart of Economic, Social and Political Science

Making people by numbers: knowledge work, organisations and perfomance measurement Seminar

Time:
12:00 - 13:00
Date:
1 December 2011
Venue:
Building 58 room 2097

For more information regarding this seminar, please .

Event details

This paper examines more recent forms of performance oversight that have been applied to knowledge work, asking how their effects upon organisational life may be conceptualised.

Through ŒTaylorist¹ techniques such as time and motion study, management measurement of industrial work processes has long sought to optimise efficiency in production by determining the best ways for workers to maximise outputs. This paper examines more recent forms of performance oversight that have been applied to knowledge work, asking how their effects upon organisational life may be conceptualised. Key among them are target and standards-based audit systems that periodically assess qualities of outputs, which are, in turn, quantified, rated through metrical scales of possible values and compared. I step back from questions of whether the frameworks Œwork or not¹ and studies of their effects in specific contexts.

Instead, in rather a schematic paper and with some examples from education, my aim is to examine what is distinctive about the broad approaches to quantification involved. Using Taylorist measurement of manual labour as a heuristic comparison, I ask how recent systems assign values to actors so as to constitute identities differentially and engender specific forms of calculation and power that I characterise as meritocratic. If our
performances in organisational life are reckoned through such numerical means, what does this mean for production patterns, the kinds of goods produced and the roles of workers?

Speaker information

Guy Redden, University of Sydney. Guy say's his research revolves around the relationships between culture and economy. Amoung his interests are commodification, alternative cultures, religion and the moralisation of consumption/lifestyle.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.

×