In much of the industrialized world, work has changed dramatically in the past 100 years. We have come a long way since the early days of assembly lines and Fordism. Today, we talk about giving employees a consumer-like experience: not “jobs,” but meaningful careers; not “roles”, but a sense of purpose. At least in our narrative, engagement has replaced productivity — work should be rewarding and fun, colleagues should be friends, and work-life balance has been replaced by work-life integration (as we work from home at 1 a.m. and hit the company meditation room or bar at 1 p.m.). Where once Marx lamented capitalistic alienation, today’s talent management gurus celebrate gamification and giving employees a consumer-like experience.

But even in jobs with the cushiest perks and most spoiled HR practices, employers still dream of turning employees into high-performing machines. A new era of Taylorization has begun, thanks to the widespread penetration of technology at work. HR has evolved into people analytics, and talent management has become the organizational guinea pig for big data. The hope, at least for cutting-edge bosses, is that technology will enable them to measure, predict, and manage employees’ job performance, not just in call centers and manufacturing plants, but also in creative, complex, and knowledge-intensive jobs. [Read more] – Michael’s Blog