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Abstract

The Quantified Self movement refers to an emerging trend identified by a range of wearable and other technological devices used for self-tracking. Such technologies can be used for first-person digital ethnographies and lifelogging of mental and physical activities and are increasingly linked to productivity and well-being in the workplace. The scope of quantifying the self at work (QSW) and associated technologies is enormous. In order to theorise the implications for the QSW effectively we claim that a reinvestigation of the dominant ontology of dualism, with recognition of the exploitative potentials for this framing, as well as interrogation of Marxist, post-Marxist and new materialist exposition, is required. How can we theorise this trend, taking the concept of the quantification of the self to task, in a way that illuminates the potential dangers and risks associated with measures of this kind for surveillance and control as quantification pervades the relationship between both minds/bodies and machines? Thinking through the implications of the use of wearable technologies in workplaces, we ask, are these technologies the latest example of Taylorist interference in anxious, precarious working in neoliberal societies of control? Key words: quantified self, monism, new materialism, labour process, self-tracking, big data, surveillance, control society, Taylorism
... For this reason, companies entrust algorithms or artificial intelligence with that processing and subsequent use of information to make decisions regarding workers. Thus, these algorithms are used to distribute tasks among workers, schedule activities, evaluate work, or even hire or dismiss employees (EU-OSHA, 2018, p. 55; Moore, 2018a;Ponce, 2020). ...
... That is to say, with productivity systems there has traditionally been an equal rule for all workers. Yet, without requiring more resources, artificial intelligence could "discover" (through trial and error) the maximum that is achievable by each worker (Moore, 2018a, p. 3), depending on their own personal characteristics, and use this type of technique (digital whip) to demand it. 15 For example, according to the Spanish Labour Inspection Report No. 460016685/17/sms, dated 5 December 2017, if a Deliveroo rider is not in motion (detected by GPS), he or she automatically receives a warning message telling them to get moving again. ...
Chapter
This chapter focuses on intensified working life via the intensified job demands (IJDs) model from the perspective of recovery from work by paying particular attention to the potentially mediating and buffering roles of recovery in the linkages between IJDs and their consequences. In empirical analyses, we examined the buffering role of psychological detachment from work during off-job time in the relationship between intensified job demands and job performance and meaning of work. We found that high psychological detachment, as a recovery experience, buffered against work intensification over time in relation to job performance and meaning of work. Thus, good detachment from work during off-job time mitigated longitudinally the association between work intensification and job performance and meaning of work. However, overall the prospective buffering effects of detachment were modest in our two-wave data as were also the longitudinal direct effects of IJDs and psychological detachment on job performance and meaning of work. More research would be needed to test the suggested theoretical model more comprehensively.
... These technologies enable management to control working practices, homogenise work and conduct surveillance of the workforce (Evans and Kitchin, 2018;Howcroft and Bergvall-Kåreborn, 2019). Workers across industries are targeted for quantification by managerial forces in pursuit of precise control mechanisms and value extraction (Moore, 2018), meaning the scope for any dependent self-employed workforce to have meaningful levels of autonomy is considered highly questionable (Harvey et al., 2017). ...
... It follows then -for the moment at least -that interpretation of complex feeling rules and the sympathetic management of relationships remain the realm of human agents in the home credit industry. This highlights one of the distinct limitations of digital systems that are designed to quantify and control workers, but which cannot account for the nuances of emotional labour (see Moore, 2018;Moore and Robinson, 2016). ...
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Changes to the labour process in the home credit sector have exposed the industry’s agency workforce to increased levels of digital managerial control through the introduction of digital lending applications and algorithmic decision-making techniques. This article highlights the heterogeneous nature of the impact of digitalisation on the labour process and worker autonomy – specifically, workers’ engagement in unquantified emotional labour. By considering the limitations of digital control in relation to qualitative elements of the labour process, it becomes evident that emotional labour has the scope to be a source of autonomy for dependent self-employed workers when set against a backdrop of heightened digital automation and algorithmic control. This article therefore contributes to ongoing labour process debates surrounding digitalisation, quantified workers and algorithmic managerial controls (e.g. Moore, 2018; Veen et al., 2019; Wood et al., 2019).
... Little room, if at all, is given in the teaching surveys to convey these aspects of learning in higher education. The assessment ultimately must be contained in a set of metrics in the rationalized measurement for our neoliberal quantified self (Moore, 2018) and are not allowed to dwell upon the subjectivities of our teaching selves and the meaningful interactions we have with our students. ...
Article
In this article, we share our personal stories across borders to demonstrate the harm neoliberal governmentalities, in higher education institutions in the UK and Israel, have inflicted on us in our daily teaching routine. Following Sara Ahmed's statement that “[f]eminism as a collective movement is made out of how we are moved to become feminists in dialogue with others” (Ahmed, 2017, p. 5), we, as feminist academics, have been cooperating by employing collaborative autoethnography, which enables us to share our personal challenges in teaching in order to confront the surveillance and the individualizing nature of an increasingly neoliberal academia. Analyzing our personal stories in dialogue allows us to better understand the unspoken experiences rooted in emotional and affective encounters between lecturers and students, among lecturers and with the neoliberal academic system as such. Considering the dangers of academic neoliberalism, this article outlines ways of resistance.
... In order to overcome such restrictions and challenge such outcomes, individual mindfulness is re-defined and extended as a form of 'critical mindfulness' (Purser et al., 2016). This incorporates or combines with an ethico-political commitment to social justice (Moore, 2017) in creating what has been variously termed as a radical mindfulness, civic mindfulness or socially engaged mindfulness that is demystified, critical-relational, critical-constructive and response-able (Goto-Jones, 2017;Healey, 2013;Ng, 2016;Purser et al., 2016;Stanley, 2012;Walsh, 2018). ...
Article
This article provides a critical re-view of the literature and studies of mindfulness at work. It offers a constructive and sympathetic yet also reflective and critical problematisation of the field. The re-view documents and examines the contributions of four different orientations towards mindfulness at work. These are as follows: individual mindfulness, collective mindfulness, individual wisdom and collective wisdom. Drawing on these contributions, the article makes the case for an ‘anti-anti mindfulness’. It argues for the self-critical promotion of mindfulness as a vehicle for extending and promoting the insights of organisational studies.
... In a situation in which 'The worker enters into the employment agreement because social conditions leave him or her no other way to make a living' (Braverman, 1974: 53), he found the experience of work was deskilled and degraded by technology and management, as a result of the expansion of capital. Subsequently, the agenda for the study and critique of work has developed from the deskilling thesis to take in issues such as managerial control (Burawoy, 1979;Friedman, 1977), work intensification (Elger, 1991;Hassard et al., 2009;Granter et al., 2019) and surveillance and evaluation (Allan et al., 2019;Moore, 2018). ...
Article
This article introduces readers to the special issue on 'the enactment of neoliberalism in the workplace'. We argue that contemporary developments such as zero-hours contracts, casualization and platform work are part of a neoliberal regime of deregulation and flexibilization that renders employment precarious and work degraded. Thus, the degradation of work that Braverman wrote of should be extended to include aspects of the employment relationship, acknowledging the crucial relationship between the mode of employment and the experience of work. In short, we assert that the quality of work is intimately connected to the quality of employment. The neoliberal agenda is played out in and around organizations through management decisions on employment and work, which, in turn, have significant and complex connections to a range of wider social, economic and political issues, such as poverty and welfare systems. The articles in our special issue explore and analyse several dimensions of the changes taking place and whilst presenting a rather gloomy view of contemporary work and employment they do demonstrate continued scope for resistance.
Chapter
Technology is changing the way in which workers are controlled. From video cameras to GPS, these technologies allow for constant monitoring of workers’ activities; however, recently two new forms of control have emerged. One consisting in giving customers a controlling role over workers’ performance and another, the “big data” (algorithms and artificial intelligence) which allow employers to process information about their employees in a far more efficient manner and at a much lower cost than has been the case until now. This makes it possible to profile workers automatically and even allows technology itself to replace human resources supervisors and managers and to make decisions that have legal effects on the employees (recruitment, promotion, dismissals, etc.). This entails great risks of discrimination by the technology in command, as well as the defenselessness of the worker, who is unaware of the reasons underlying such a decision and specific health and occupational risks for workers. This study analyzes the risks that these new technologies are posing to workers and what challenges labor law is facing.
Article
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This paper provides a critical review of the literature and studies of mindfulness at work. It provides a constructive and sympathetic yet also reflective and critical problematisation of the field. The review documents and examines the contributions of four different orientations towards mindfulness at work. These are: individual mindfulness; collective mindfulness; individual wisdom; and collective wisdom. Drawing on these contributions, the paper makes the case for an 'anti-anti-mindfulness'. It argues for the self-critical promotion of mindfulness as a vehicle for extending and promoting the insights of organizational studies.
Research
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We have, in the 21st century, moved into a new series of fascinations with biosensing, where our autonomic systems or an autonomic ‘self’, largely out of bounds for our own knowledge and understanding before now, are available. ‘Autonomic’ refers to the nervous system of a physiological self, but the extent of our autonomic selves would not otherwise be knowable or known but through sensory tracking devices now available to us. Biosensing, biohacking, biometrics and biopower are all part of a contemporary movement of intimate and intensified measure and are terms that Dawn Nafus's collection Quantified: Biosensing Technologies in Everyday Life deals with. The book discusses questions of measurement and tracking with the use of sensory technology and methods. This review considers where this collection sits in the literature and theoretical debates.
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The growth of self-tracking and personal surveillance has given rise to the Quantified Self movement. Members of this movement seek to enhance their personal well-being, productivity and self-actualization through the tracking and gamification of personal data. The technologies that make this possible can also track and gamify aspects of our interpersonal, romantic relationships. Several authors have begun to challenge the ethical and normative implications of this development. In the present article, we build upon this work to provide a detailed ethical analysis of the Quantified Relationship (QR). We identify eight core objections to QR and subject them to critical scrutiny. We argue that although critics raise legitimate concerns, there are ways in which tracking technologies can be used to support and facilitate good relationships. We thus adopt a stance of cautious openness towards this technology and advocate the development of a research agenda for the positive use of QR technologies.
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