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Big Data in Organizations and the Role of Human Resource Management

A Complex Systems Theory-Based Conceptualization


Tobias M. Scholz

Big data are changing the way we work as companies face an increasing amount of data. Rather than replacing a human workforce or making decisions obsolete, big data are going to pose an immense innovating force to those employees capable of utilizing them. This book intends to first convey a theoretical understanding of big data. It then tackles the phenomenon of big data from the perspectives of varied organizational theories in order to highlight socio-technological interaction. Big data are bound to transform organizations which calls for a transformation of the human resource department. The HR department’s new role then enables organizations to utilize big data for their purpose. Employees, while remaining an organization’s major competitive advantage, have found a powerful ally in big data.

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What is the similarity between big data and the number 42 in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy? Both give answers, but the questions are unknown.

Big data are complex and big data surround us, therefore, I am truly grateful to my doctoral adviser Volker Stein of allowing me to tackle such a research behemoth. Furthermore, giving me guidance and above all giving me the area of freedom to deal with this topic. I also want to thank Hanna Schramm-Klein and Arnd Wiedemann for being part of my thesis committee and for allowing me to present my thesis in such length and scope.

A special thank you goes to Florian Weuthen for his patience to read through my manuscript. The same goes to my mom, my father and my brother for their comments and feedback. A special dedication is to my cat Frodo; she could not see the end of this journey. On the way there were many colleagues who made the work a joy: Kevin Chaplin, Anna Feldhaus, Cornelia Fraune, Brigitte Grebe, Lena Kiersch, Martin F. Reichstein, Matthis S. Reichstein, Lina Ritter, Katrin Rödel, Katharina von Weschpfennig and Svenja Witzelmaier.

The book may be finished, but big data will become even more important in the upcoming years, so it will be interesting to see how we will transform big data and how big data will transform us.

Siegen, November 2016Tobias M. Scholz