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Quantifying Human Resources: The Contributions of Economics and Sociology of Conventions

Clotilde Coron (2023)

In Rainer Diaz-Bone & Guillemette de Larquier (eds.), Handbook of economics and sociology of conventions. Cham: Springer, Online first

Abstract. This chapter deals with the contributions of economics and sociology of conventions (EC/SC) to analyze the use of numbers and data in human resource management (HRM). Quantification has been used since Taylor’s seminal work in HRM. More precisely, the uses of quantification in HRM are numerous: HR metrics, HR analytics, algorithms, and now artificial intelligence. This makes research about quantification in HRM all the more important. This chapter first reviews the existing literature about those different uses. Then, it shows how EC/SC can be used to take a step back from a positivist vision based on the myth of a neutral and objectifying quantification and thus to understand better the negotiations, arbitrations, and human choices underlying these different uses of quantification in HRM. More precisely, it deals with the concept of “quantification convention” and how it allows researchers to highlight the intersubjective dimensions of quantification. However, some research avenues still exist, and they are underlined in the final section of the chapter.

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