Analytics and expert collaboration: How individuals navigate relationships when working with organizational data

Joshua B. Barbour*, Jeffrey W. Treem, Brad Kolar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Analytics is heralded as an important, new and increasingly widespread organizational function, and one that promises new approaches for generating value from organizational knowledge. What is not yet clear is how analytics may affect how organizations work with data, or how organizations can realize the benefits of analytics. Analytics, envisioned as not just a technical skill but a reconceptualization of data’s place in the organization, may improve, challenge or undermine existing processes and procedures. Building upon scholarship on expert collaboration and multidisciplinary knowledge work, this study reports a mixed-methods investigation of the implementation of analytics at a Fortune 500 financial services company. The findings make multiple contributions, including (a) confirming the importance of relationships among organizational experts in analytics work; (b) exploring specific communicative strategies employed by practitioners in those relationships; (c) demonstrating that the functioning of those relationships may differ depending on the type of analytics work (i.e. the degree to which it involves requesting, collaborating or commissioning); and (d) indicating that analytics practitioners need autonomy, as well as technical acumen, to question entrenched ideas about organizational data and problems. The findings contribute to practice by identifying problems that may be common in implementing analytics and strategies employed to address them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)256-284
Number of pages29
JournalHuman Relations
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018


  • analytics
  • data
  • expert collaboration
  • expert relationships
  • knowledge work

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Social Sciences
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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