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We present the design, implementation, and deployment of a wearable computing platform for measuring and analyzing human behavior in organizational settings. We propose the use of wearable electronic badges capable of automatically measuring the amount of face-to-face interaction, conversational time, physical proximity to other people, and physical activity levels in order to capture individual and collective patterns of behavior. Our goal is to be able to understand how patterns of behavior shape individuals and organizations. By using on-body sensors in large groups of people for extended periods of time in naturalistic settings, we have been able to identify, measure, and quantify social interactions, group behavior, and organizational dynamics. We deployed this wearable computing platform in a group of 22 employees working in a real organization over a period of one month. Using these automatic measurements, we were able to predict employees' self-assessments of job satisfaction and their own perceptions of group interaction quality by combining data collected with our platform and e-mail communication data. In particular, the total amount of communication was predictive of both of these assessments, and betweenness in the social network exhibited a high negative correlation with group interaction satisfaction. We also found that physical proximity and e-mail exchange had a negative correlation of r = -0.55 (p 0.01), which has far-reaching implications for past and future research on social networks.
Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, Part B: Cybernetics, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:39 , Issue: 1 )
Date of Publication: Feb. 2009