The effects of digitalisation on work and employment in the service sector

Duration: 04/2019 - 06/2021
Status: completed
Research area: Work and organisation
Key project staff: Philip Schörpf, Annika Schönauer, Franz Astleithner
Funded by: Jubiläumsfonds der österreichischen Nationalbank

The research project’s priority lies on the effects of digitalisation in work and work organisation in the service sector. In light of fast changing circumstances and technological innovations and the connected processes, the service sector has to gain centre stage. This project takes as its starting point the extended scope for manoeuvre digitalisation provides for the design of work and work organisation: Digital technologies enable new ways of organising work within the workplace and facilitate outsourcing and offshoring of work and work packages. In addition, digitalisation affects both the spatial and the temporal aspects of work. What is more, blurring organisational boundaries and new Internet-based business models partly imply the use of new forms of employment. This widened scope for the constitution of work draws attention to the way in which it is actually used in the design of technology, in steps of automation, in work design, in supporting cooperation, in control and surveillance, but also in enlarging customer self-service or in geographically relocating work.
The way digitalisation is associated with changes in work in service sectors in terms of reorganisation and rationalisation, both within and outside a firm’s boundaries is at the centre of the research project. How is this new ‘openness’ made use of in the constitution of work? How are work processes changing? What are the effects on organisations and workers, employees and freelancers? What are the opportunities for workers to bring in their knowledge, skills and ingenuity? Is work rewarding and does it provide opportunities for learning?