The digital transformation of work: A relational view

Carlos Rodriguez-Lluesma, Pablo García-Ruiz, Javier Pinto-Garay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Conversation about the current and potential effects of digital technologies on the nature of work is raging within scholarly and practitioner communities. Artificial intelligence, robotics, data analytics, digital platforms, and automation, among other technologies, are prompting a swift and profound transformation of work. Building on Pierpaolo Donati's relational sociology, we examine the changes these technologies are likely to bring about in work as a human relation. Despite the very real threats of unemployment, job insecurity, precariousness, and surveillance, technology may also encourage the emergence of a work culture that shifts the scales toward a relational realm rather than a transactional one. To this end, we argue that work should be understood as a social relation with four dimensions: exchange value, intrinsic extra-economic purpose, communication for reciprocal services, and correspondence with primary human needs according to use values. Understanding the digital transformation of work from this point of view requires comprehending the differentiation and integration of these four dimensions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-167
Number of pages11
JournalBusiness Ethics
Volume30
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes

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