retail and hospitality

Data + Context = Information: A Dialogue on the Sociology of the Obvious

The Resonance Test 31: Gary David

March 22, 2019
by Toby BottorfKen Gordon
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You can call Gary David all kinds of things. Sociology professor. Ethnographer. Professional noticer. Professional outsider. A Storage Wars guy. He is, in short, someone with a very particular view of social science and how it translates into organizational behavior. In a recent Resonance Test chin wag with our Toby Bottorf, David offers up a collection of smart, tart bon mots. In the course of the conversation he explains the formula “Data + Context = Information” by calling in the cops: “You can’t understand what crime stats mean, unless you understand police practice.” He talks about how his CX analysis focuses on the interactions customers have with a company, rather than on perceptions. “By looking at the interactions, we can see what is actually going on in the encounter.” As for Storage Wars, he’s fascinated by the way the show puts a price tag on contestants' pickings: “[R]ight now you just got a bunch of stuff in your trunk, that you bought. So you’re actually down money,” he says, adding, professorially, that the show “constructs the notion that these numbers are an accurate reflection of some concrete state—and they’re not. They’re approximations.” But maybe the best moment of all is when David gets earnest and describes his efforts this way: “You’re trying to help workers actually leverage their expertise and their knowhow and become more self-actualized, in almost a Maslow sense, in their work.”

Host: Jen Ashman
Editor: Kyp Pilalas
Producer: Ken Gordon

The Resonance Test 31: Gary David
filed in: retail and hospitality, customer experience, employee experience

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