Working in digitalizing workplaces in the Nordics

2022-03-07

Special issue editors: Kathrin Komp-Leukkunen, Arianna Poli, Anders Buch

This special issue has deadline for papers dated November 1, 2022. Peer reviews are expected to be finished in the summer of 2023. And the special issue is expected to be published at the end of 2023.

Papers should be submitted to Journal manager Bo Carstens, bo@nordicwl.dk. Please also contact Journal manager Bo Carstens, bo@nordicwl.dk, if you have any questions regarding submissions.

Rationale

Work in the Nordic countries is changing as digitalization progresses. Digitalization at work entails the increased use of digital technologies, such as computers, online services, robotics, sensors, and virtual and augmented reality, by industries, companies, and, thus, by workers for administration, service delivery, ergonomics, and production. This brings new activities into individuals’ work routines, for example, online meetings, report submissions via software systems, and use of smart and interconnected pieces of machinery in production work. Digitalization at work offers several opportunities to workers, as it can, for example, enrich their work tasks, facilitate a work-life balance, allow flexible work arrangements, reduce physical burden of certain tasks, lessen job-related demands (e.g., commuting, travels), enable new ways of accessing learning, and increase safety and accessibility at work. However, it also brings new barriers into play. Some workers may struggle with adapting to digitalizing workplaces due to, for example, lack of digital skills, training opportunities, and digital access, with possible impacts on their employability, career development, retirement decisions, and other work-related aspects. Such digitalization-related opportunities and challenges are likely to be experienced differently by workers at different stages of their working life (e.g., entry, mid-career, late career). Unfortunately, previous research has not yet fully established what are the challenges and the opportunities that digitalizing workplaces pose to workers at different stages of the working life (e.g., entry, mid-career, late career). Moreover, it did not yet establish which social inequalities and country-differences in these effects exist. This special issue helps to fill this gap in knowledge. It explores the experience of workers at different stages of their career (e.g., entry, mid-career, late career) with digitalizing workplaces, with a focus on the Nordic countries. This focus is particularly instructive because the Nordic countries are among the countries with the maximum progression of the digitalization of work in the world. Thus, the effects of digitalization on the workforce can be particularly well observed in the Nordics. This special issue will bring together insight on how workers in the Nordics fare when their workplaces are digitalizing. It will explore challenges as well as positive developments these workers experience, focusing on the situation in different Nordic countries. To reach this goal, the special issue invites qualitative, quantitative, and conceptual studies. The topics that could be addressed are as follows:

  • how do workers at different career stages experience digitalizing of their workplaces,
  • how do workers in the Nordics benefit from a digitalization of their workplaces,
  • which disadvantages do workers in the Nordics experience from a digitalization of their workplaces,
  • how did the COVID-19 pandemic affect the situation of Nordic workers in digitalizing workplaces, and
  • which within and between-country differences exist in how Nordic workers fare in digitalizing of the workplaces.

Bio sketches of the guest editors

Kathrin Komp-Leukkunen, PhD, habil., associate professor in social policy at the University of Helsinki, Finland. Her research interests are population aging, life-courses, work and retirement, and welfare policies. She is vice-chair of the Research Network on Quantitative Methods, and chair of the panel on social sciences of the Finnish Publication Forum. She formerly was a former Marie Curie fellow, on the executive committee of the European Sociological Association, and chair of the Research Network on Ageing in Europe. She had expert assignments in the European Commission, the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the Bank of Finland, and the Governments of Finland and Romania. She had more than 75 publications; among them, 19 articles are in peer-reviewed journals, three books, and two special issues. The special issues were published in the International Journal of Ageing and Later Life and in the International Journal of Social Welfare. Email: kathrin.komp@helsinki.fi

Arianna Poli, PhD, post-doctoral researcher at the Division Ageing and Social Change, Linköping University, Sweden, and at the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology, National University of Ireland, Galway. Her research lies at the intersection of digitalisation, ageing, and inequality. She is currently involved in several international research projects with a focus on digitalisation and ageing, investigating the impact of digitalisation among older people in different domains, such as working life, healthcare, service provision. She is founding member and newsletter editor of the international scientific network Socio-Gerontechnology. She is a management committee member for Sweden within the NET4AGE-Friendly COST Action (CA 19136). In 2019, she was nominated as a representative of the ageing research conducted at Linköping University for a Sweden-Japan cooperation project. She is alumnus of the Swedish National Competitive School on Ageing and Health (SWEAH) and was an early-career member of Reducing Old-Age Social Exclusion: Collaborations in Research and Policy (ROSEnet) COST Action (CA 15122).  Email: arianna.poli@liu.se