The future of work will be measured. The increasing and widespread adoption of analytics, the use of digital inputs and outputs to inform organizational decision making, makes the communication of data central to organizing. This article applies and extends signaling theory to provide a framework for the study of analytics as communication. We report three cases that offer examples of dubious, selective, and ambiguous signaling in the activities of workers seeking to shape the meaning of data within the practice of analytics. The analysis casts the future of work as a game of strategic moves between organizations, seeking to measure behaviors and quantify the performance of work, and workers, altering their behavioral signaling to meet situated goals. The framework developed offers a guide for future examinations of the asymmetric relationship between management and workers as organizations adopt metrics to monitor and evaluate work.
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