A1 Journal article (refereed)
Big data and HR analytics in the digital era (2019)

Dahlbom, P., Siikanen, N., Sajasalo, P., & Järvenpää, M. (2019). Big data and HR analytics in the digital era. Baltic Journal of Management, 15(1), 120-138. https://doi.org/10.1108/BJM-11-2018-0393

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsDahlbom, Pauli; Siikanen, Noora; Sajasalo, Pasi; Järvenpää, Marko

Journal or seriesBaltic Journal of Management



Publication year2019


Issue number1

Pages range120-138


Publication countryUnited Kingdom

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessNot open

Publication channel open access

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/81291


The purpose of this paper is to focus on how the HR function takes advantage of human resource analytics (HRA), including big data (BD), and discuss factors hindering HRA and data utilization. Moreover, the authors discuss the implications of the HRA-induced role transformation of the human resource (HR) function.

This is an explorative case study based on qualitative interviews in nine leading Finnish companies.

The results indicate that both technical and human obstacles, operating with very basic HR processes and traditional information systems and poor data quality, hinder adoption of advanced HRA. This, combined with lacking skills in analytics and business understanding, inability to go beyond reporting, misconceptions related to BD and traditional compliance-oriented HR culture pose further challenges for the data analytics capacity and business partner role of the HR function. Senior executives expect no significant advancements of HRA, while HR professionals saw potential value in BD, although skepticism was not uncommon. The results point toward a need for increased cooperation with data analysts and HR professionals in provision and understanding the HR-related data for business-related decision making. Furthermore, cultural change and organizational redesign may be called for, in addition to overcoming technological obstacles related to BD, for it to have an impact on HR practices. HRA utilization and role transition of the HR function seem closely related and this transformation can be mutually reinforcing.

This study provides and theorizes explorative data on HRA within a group of some of the largest Finnish companies, pointing toward an immature state of the art in BD and HRA utilization and there being a relationship between HRA and the role transition of the HR function in organizations.

Keywordsperformance (coping)evaluationbig datahuman resource managementmethods of analysis

Free keywordsperformance measurement; big data; human resource management; data analytics; HR analytics

Contributing organizations

Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2019

JUFO rating1

Last updated on 2024-11-05 at 00:05