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Technology and Work from a TA perspective

Technology and Work from a TA perspective



Karlstr. 11, 76133 Karlsruhe, Kolloquiumsraum Nr. 418




For many decades, there was a strong focus on the relationship between technology and work across different disciplines, not only in industrial sociology (Schein 1984; Turel/Serenko/Bontis 2011), but also in the field of technology studies (Hinds/Roberts/Jones 2004; Thrun 2004). In the last years however, this relationship has becoming weaker and seems no longer be in the centre of the scientific discourses specifically with respect to the impact on employment. Reasons for the decline of the topic are manifold like the differentiation of technological applications in many working fields, the strong focus on the service sector with its non-technical characteristics as well as the increasing normative connection of technology with productivity and economic growth which was widely regarded as self-evident.
Nevertheless, this picture has changed especially with the rise and development of new emerging fields of applications of technologies like information technologies and robotics. Recent studies focusing on new rationalization potentials based on digital technologies form the quest to renew the look into technology driven working practices (Brynjolfsson/McAfee 2011 and 2014; Frey/Osborne 2013;Neff 2015). Due to the applications of these technologies in different sectors (industry, agriculture, service sector), again the relationship between technology and work becomes crucial (Krings 2013; Moniz 2015; Dominguez-Rué/Nierling 2015). However, specifically with regard to the ongoing rationalisation processes within different sectors this relationship remains 'under analysed'. This has been already mentioned and criticised by some scholars (e.g. Pfeiffer 2010; Wajcman 2006) as well as in some international institutions (Dhondt et al. 2002; ILO 2006).
The request to go into questions relating technology and work was also recently renewed by policy makers across Europe, leading to a range of TA studies focusing on the implications of technologies on work. The named studies reflect both robotic as well as digital technologies in both industrial work ("industry 4.0") as well as service work. In this workshop we will discuss the outcomes of the different studies jointly from a TA perspective and will ask for actual implications on employment and employability, working relations and conditions. We, herewith, also like to strengthen the relationship of technology and work from a TA perspective and consider the actual TA studies in this field as starting point for further conceptual discussions on the normative preconditions of employment based on new technologies on the one hand and necessary implications for policy advice on the other.


Friday, 27th of November 2015

9:00 Welcome (Michael Decker)
9:10 Introduction: Bridging the Gap Between "Technology and Work" (PDF)
(Bettina-Johanna Krings, Antonio Moniz, Linda Nierling, ITAS, Germany)
  Part 1:   Studies on Work in European TA-institutes
9:40 Working on the Robot Society (PDF)
(R. van Est, Rathenau Institute, The Netherlands)
10:00 Industry 4.0: New Challenges for Work and Qualification (PDF)
(G. Aichholzer, ITA, Austria)
10:20 Discussion
10:30 Coffee break
11:00 Robotics and Autonomous Devices in Social and Health Care (PDF)
(S. Bellucci, TA Swiss, Switzerland)
11:20 Digitalisation of Work: Visions vs. Empirical Evidence (PDF)
(L. Nierling, F. Börner, TAB, Germany)
11:40 Discussion
  Part 2:   Work on the TA agenda
11:50  Round Table Discussion (Chair: A. Moniz)
Conceptual questions, Research methods and role of participatory approaches, Experiences with and guidance for policy advice on technology and work
13:00 Farewell Snack

Registration and contact

Are you planning to participate in the program? We appreciate your interest and ask you to sign in.

For questions, please contact the organizing committee.

Prof. Dr. Michael Decker
Constanze Scherz
Elke Träutlein or by phone: +49 721 608 28548

Suggested hotels

Hotel Betzler, Amalienstraße 3, 76133 Karlsruhe
35 Euro per person/night

Hotel Erbprinzenhof, Erbprinzenstraße 26, 76133 Karlsruhe
66 Euro per person/night

Hotel Berliner Hof, Douglasstraße 7, 76133 Karlsruhe
72 Euro per person/night


Brynjolfsson, E. and A. McAfee (2011). Race against the Machine. Lexington, Digital Frontier Press.

Brynjolfsson, E. and A. McAfee (2014). The Second Machine Age. Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies. New York, London, W.W. Norton & Company Inc.

Dhondt, S.; Kraan, K. and van Sloten, G. (2002). Work organisation, technology and working conditions, Dublin, European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions

Dominguez-Rué, E. and Nierling, L. (2015, forthcoming) (eds.): Silver Tech – Technologies in the course of Ageing, Bielefeld: transcript.

Frey, C. B. and M. A. Osborne (2013). The future of employment: How susceptible are jobs to computerisation? Oxford.

Hinds, P.J.; Roberts, T.L. and Jones, H. (2004). Whose Job Is It Anyway? A Study of Human-Robot Interaction in a Collaborative Task, Human–Computer Interaction, 19:1-2, pp. 151-181

ILO - International Labour Office (2006). Changing Patterns in the World of Work - Report of the Director-General, 95th Session, Geneva

Krings, B.-J. (2013). Arbeit und Technik. In: Grunwald, A. (eds.): Handbuch Technikethik. Stuttgart, Weimar: Metzler 2013, pp. 217-222

Moniz, A. Brandão (2015). Intuitive interaction between humans and robots in work functions at industrial environments: The role of social robotics. In: Vincent, J.; Taipale, S.; Sapio, B.; Lugano, G.; Fortunati, L. (eds.): Social robots from a human perspective. Heidelberg: Springer 2015, pp. 67-76,

Neff, G. (2015). Venture Labor: Work and the Burden of Risk in Innovative Industries, Boston, MIT Press

Pfeiffer, S. (2010). Technisierung von Arbeit. In: Böhle, Fritz; Voß, Günter F.; Wachtler, Günther (eds.): Handbuch Arbeitssoziologie. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, pp. 231-261.

Schein, E. (1984). Culture as an Environmental Context for Works. J. Organ. Behav. 5 (1), pp. 71–81.

Thrun, S. (2004). Toward a Framework for Human-Robot Interaction, Human–Computer Interaction, 19:1-2, pp. 9-24

Turel, O.; Serenko, A. and Bontis, N. (2011). Family and work-related consequences of addiction to organizational pervasive technologies, Information & Management 48 (2011), pp. 88–95

Wajcman, J. (2006). New connections: social studies of science and technology and studies of work.