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School of Business and Management

Sarah Ryer

 Sarah Ryer


Project title

eHRM and (Post)Human Perfectibility

Project description

A dominant discourse in the present era is the assertion and promotion of an individual’s capacity for constant (and limitless) development and improvement. This is especially prominent within the managerial context, particularly in regard to Human Resource Management (HRM), a discipline founded upon a theorisation of the employee as a human resource — an asset — which needs to be made to grow, adapt, and supply a continual return on investment. Moreover, the increased application of information technology to the HRM field — giving rise to a new subfield of ‘electronic’ HRM (eHRM) — assures an expansion of HRM’s capacities to collect, monitor, and measure employee ‘human capital’ metrics. An overarching research aim is thus a problematisation of this notion of human perfectibility, exploring its role in the production of power and subjectivity, at the site of HR e-Learning software. Adopting a critical posthuman perspective (e.g. Braidotti, 2013), alongside the philosophy and techniques of software studies (e.g. Fuller, 2003, 2008; Kitchin & Dodge, 2011; Manovich, 2013), the focus is aimed at the organisational software infrastructure, in which the ‘human’ subject is immersed, fragmented, and re/constructed within the datafied organisation. The project comprises ethnographic fieldwork within the corporate learning technologies industry, including autoethnography, multi-scalar semi-structured interviews, and genealogical investigations into the software and its specifications


1st Supervisor: Professor Gerard Hanlon
2nd Supervisor: Dr Rowland Curtis


Sarah has a diverse, interdisciplinary background which spans an MA History of Art and Italian from the University of Edinburgh, MA Interactive Media from Goldsmiths, and an MRes Business and Management from Queen Mary, University of London. Her research interests include: critical posthumanism, cyborg theory, the future of work, organisational infrastructures, cognitive capitalism, and software studies.

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