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Room 1000, 690 Building Abstract: The
Room 1000, 690 Building
Abstract: The impact of digitisation has moved to the centre of debates on contemporary work and employment. There is a widely held belief that work mediated by digital platforms will keep expanding (see Huws et al. 2016) and be adopted as an organisational and employment model by increasing number of firms. The digitization of society and the economy poses both opportunities and risks (CIPD 2017, Kalleberg and Dunn 2016). However, recent publications highlight that digitisation brings about power shifts away from digital labour (Graham et al. 2017) toward platform owners and employers (Kenney and Zysman 2016), who access digital labour at low cost and without any moral obligation (Bergvall-Kareborn and Howcroft 2014). Subsequently, concerns abound about the consequences of actions of digital actors resulting in insecurity of employment and lack of social protections (Berg 2016, Forde et al. 2017). Despite the practical and institutional obstacles to organize, we are witnessing attempts by digital workers to exercise their agency and actively shape their reality. This is evident in the legal challenges and industrial action but also through innovative use of software. This presentation will shed light on the process of designing a large research project focusing on the exploration of collective and individual agency exercised by digital workers, both technological and non-technological, to enhance their dignity. In particular, it will focus on the challenges stemming from the proposed adoption of participatory action research (PAR). Participative action research approach (Park 1999, 2006) involves co-production of research with its beneficiaries, leading to enhanced application of findings directly useful to beneficiaries. It enables cross-feeding of ideas and findings between the stakeholders to optimise outcomes and generate knowledge that can inform their approaches to pursuing the desired outcome, in this case the dignified digital labour.
Keywords: participative action research (PAR); digital economy, digital labour, modern working practices, dignity of labour.
Short Bio: Iwona Wilkowska is a senior lecturer in Human Resource Management and HR Analytics at Westminster University and a Senior Fellow of Higher Education Academy. Her research interests include the impact of technological developments on workers, organisations and society.
Iwona Wilkowska (Westminster University)
Faculty of Economics and Business
Faculty of Economics and Business - UB, 690 Building