A few weeks ago I did a public seminar related to digitalisation and the work environment at Tierp library. I talked about the very techno positive culture that we have in Sweden, and that people seem to think that with digitalisation we solve all problems. We will be more efficient, human errors will disappear and work will be based on rational processes. Examples of very successful IT systems are for example Watson to support decisions in health care and robots for surgery.
However, there is also another very parallel story to this. A story about how seldom IT projects are successful, and how often large IT projects fail completely. And a story about how much money that costs every year (44 billion SEK in 2016 according to Unionen).
There is also a story about people in different organisations who feel frustrated over their jobs, who lose the feeling of satisfaction and joy from working and some even burn out. We need to digitalise with human beings in mind. Digitalisation of work needs to include ideas of how to create a good and motivating work situation.
I think that the small audience that listened were very interested and gave many good examples from their work situation.
Ever since I started as a PhD student I have worked with different action research projects related to improving the digital work environment in organizations. Actions research is the methodology that I have explained previously in my blog, see this blog post which is the first one is a series with five blog posts about action research.
As a PhD student, I worked in a being collaborative project called “Aim Healthy” (Satsa Friskt), where are we worked with digital work environments in eight different government organizations. You can read more about the story behind my PhD thesis here, and the actual thesis is found in DIVA.
Digitalization creates a new kind of work, and also affects the work environment. Many times, this is a positive thing, but many times it’s also quite troublesome. Research have come up with many good ideas about how to improve the digital work environment. These ideas include processes, methods, management principles and better design of the systems. However, it is a very difficult to implement these ideas in practice and to help organizations change in a direction that would lead to better digital work environments.
Last week I presented some of the experiences that I have made from working with this the last 15 years. My HTO research group currently have many projects related to the digital work environment. Below are posters presenting three of them, and the posters are also links to blog posts on the HTO group’s blog that present this work: