Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1709943
 
 

References (23)



 


 



Harnessing the Digital Lens to Measure and Manage Information Work


Sinan Aral


Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management

Erik Brynjolfsson


Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Marshall W. Van Alstyne


Boston University - Department of Management Information Systems; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School

November 16, 2010


Abstract:     
Revolutions in measurement inevitably revolutionize science and practice. Over 300 years ago, Anton van Leeuwenhoek developed a better microscope to verify thread counts on imported carpets. Using this new tool, he discovered microorganisms he called “animalcules” in drops of water and individual blood corpuscles in drops of blood. Biology and medicine have never been the same.

Just as the microscope gave rise to the germ theory of disease and the remarkable advances that followed, our new-found ability to observe fine-grained information flows in electronic data portends a revolution in our understanding of information work. Managers who harness this new Digital Lens will uncover a wealth of insights into performance improvement for individuals, teams and organizations - insights that will ultimately affect the economy as a whole.

In this article, we draw on our own research, and that of others, to describe tools and techniques for tracking information work in unprecedented detail. The result is a step change in our ability to manage information work and information workers. During the course of our research, we used these tools to uncover lessons for individuals on information novelty, workload and transformation, as well as for organizations on automation, decentralization, and incentives. Perhaps more importantly, this fine-grained view of work provides a toolkit for deriving new lessons, many of which will vary from company to company, but each of which will be grounded in detailed, actionable data.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 16

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Date posted: November 17, 2010  

Suggested Citation

Aral, Sinan and Brynjolfsson, Erik and Van Alstyne, Marshall W., Harnessing the Digital Lens to Measure and Manage Information Work (November 16, 2010). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1709943 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1709943

Contact Information

Sinan Aral (Contact Author)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )
77 Massachusetts Ave.
E62-416
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
Erik Brynjolfsson
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )
E53-313
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
617-253-4319 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://digital.mit.edu/erik
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Marshall W. Van Alstyne
Boston University - Department of Management Information Systems ( email )
595 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
United States
617-358-3571 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://smgapps.bu.edu/mgmt_new/profiles/VanAlstyneMarshall.html
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School ( email )
Center for Digital Business
5 Cambridge Center - NE25, 7th Floor
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
617-253-0768 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://web.mit.edu/marshall/www/home.html
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