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Making Sense of Big Data Is Focus of SIOP Event at UC Irvine


by Clif Boutelle, SIOP Public Relations

SIOP’s Visibility Committee will be conducting another in its “Top Minds and Bottom Lines” series at the University of California at Irvine on Wednesday, April 13, prior to the opening of the SIOP Conference in Anaheim.

“Top Minds and Bottom Lines” is a series begun several years ago to raise awareness about I-O for HR and business practitioners and graduate students and to demonstrate how I-O can benefit their organizations. Held in conjunction with SIOP Conferences and Leading Edge Consortia, previous sessions have been held in Houston, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Boston.

The UC Irvine event is titled “Making Sense of Big Data: How I-O Psychologists Use Big Data to Drive Smarter Business Decisions” and will feature presentations by Alexis Fink, Director of Talent Intelligence and Analytics for Intel Corporation; Rick Guzzo, Partner, Mercer and Co-Leader of Mercer’s Workforce Sciences Institute, and Sara Roberts, Co-Founder and Principal Consultant of Category One Consulting, in Omaha, Nebraska.

Visibility Committee member Jolene Skinner, Global Director of Engagement and Culture at Sitel in Nashville, Tennessee, will moderate the program.

Jone Pearce, Dean’s Professor of Organization and Management at UC Irvine, is coordinating arrangements for the event, which will be from 6-7:30 p.m. on the UC Irvine campus.

Big Data is the term used to describe the ever-increasing quantity of information collected, stored and used by organizations to understand their customers, competitors and employees. Harnessing all that information to its fullest advantage is the focus of the presentations.

Skinner said attendees will hear how their organizations can leverage Big Data to magnify the differences between them and other organizations. “Doing this will provide decision makers the information they need to take actions that are not just imitating what others do or adopting so-called ‘best practices’ of others,” she said.

Big data can provide a key source of insight for business analysis and I-O psychologists possess the research insight and analytical skills that make them valuable HR partners who can guide critical decisions needed for business success, she added.

Mark Rose, chair of the Visibility Committee, said each Top Mind event has focused on different topics and has met its goal of attracting non-IOs to learn more about how industrial-organizational psychology can impact their organizations.

“Also, the events are the first time some of the undergraduate and graduate students have been exposed to I-O and may influence their decisions to pursue a career in our field,” he said.

The topic for the Top Minds event is similar to that of this fall’s Twelfth Annual Leading Edge Consortium titled “Talent Analytics: Data Science to Drive People Decisions and Business Impact.”

The LEC, which will be October 21-22 in Atlanta, will showcase the power and promise of combining organizational science and new or emerging methods in data collection, analysis and display to deliver game changing insight for organizations.