As societal adjustments to the industrial revolution began to mature over a century ago in developed countries, theories of scientific management and optimization led to greater efficiency and productivity. But these theories, emphasizing engineering and operations, treated labor as a commodity, resulting in decreased employee satisfaction and engagement.
In recent decades, company leaders embraced new theories that empowering people at all levels, even on the front lines, would strengthen employee engagement and performance, ultimately benefitting the corporation.
But Wharton professor Peter Cappelli sees the pendulum swinging back to the optimization theory. With the spread of the internet, accelerating digital transformation and other advances in technology came a new set of implications to how people conduct their daily lives, including the use of data, analytics and AI in making important decisions. With a renewed use of algorithms to closely manage people, and increased hiring of contractors and gig workers, companies are moving away from empowerment and back to treating people as a commodity. And Cappelli believes these trends are dangerous for companies.
On November 19, 2020, in a live, interactive HBR webinar, Cappelli will lead a discussion for organizational leaders about the best way forward for talent management. Drawing from a wealth of research on talent management trends and best practices, Cappelli will focus on:
- The evolution of various talent management theories
- Benefits and dangers of using AI and algorithms in talent management
- The importance of striking a balance between optimization and engagement