A smart place to work? Big data systems, labour, control and modern retail stores

A smart place to work? Big data systems, labour, control and modern retail stores The modern retail store is a complex coded assemblage and data‐intensive environment, its operations and management mediated by a number of interlinked big data systems. This paper draws on an ethnography of a retail store in Ireland to examine how these systems modulate the functioning of the store and working practices of employees. It was found that retail work involves a continual movement between a governance regime of control reliant on big data systems which seek to regulate and harnesses formal labour and automation into enterprise planning, and a disciplinary regime that deals with the symbolic, interactive labour that workers perform and act as a reserve mode of governmentality if control fails. This continual movement is caused by new systems of control being open to vertical and horizontal fissures. While retail functions as a coded assemblage of control, systems are too brittle to sustain the governmentality desired. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png New Technology, Work and Employment Wiley

A smart place to work? Big data systems, labour, control and modern retail stores

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Publisher
Wiley Subscription Services, Inc., A Wiley Company
Copyright
© 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
ISSN
0268-1072
eISSN
1468-005X
D.O.I.
10.1111/ntwe.12107
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The modern retail store is a complex coded assemblage and data‐intensive environment, its operations and management mediated by a number of interlinked big data systems. This paper draws on an ethnography of a retail store in Ireland to examine how these systems modulate the functioning of the store and working practices of employees. It was found that retail work involves a continual movement between a governance regime of control reliant on big data systems which seek to regulate and harnesses formal labour and automation into enterprise planning, and a disciplinary regime that deals with the symbolic, interactive labour that workers perform and act as a reserve mode of governmentality if control fails. This continual movement is caused by new systems of control being open to vertical and horizontal fissures. While retail functions as a coded assemblage of control, systems are too brittle to sustain the governmentality desired.

Journal

New Technology, Work and EmploymentWiley

Published: Jan 1, 2018

Keywords: ; ; ; ; ; ;

References

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