Competencies in digitalized work

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Abstract

Digitalization of work tools and objects, value adding processes and working environments enables flexible organizing of work in micro- and SME companies, on company campuses, in local regions such as cities and globally in virtual work platforms. Employees increasingly act remotely, are mobile, and work and collaborate from multiple locations and contexts (Andriessen & Vartiainen, 2006; Koroma & Vartiainen, 2017). This presentation concentrates on exploring how the digitalization influences on the needed competencies[1] for the future by changing work processes and contents. My approach is exploratory and descriptive as I look for evidence in secondary material such as literature and white papers in addition to empirical studies to figure out, what kinds of competencies are needed in the future. I will propose a model for analyzing future competency needs in addition to present what these competencies are.Of the general, global trends, the most immediate material factor affecting people’s work demands, activities and resources on the organizational level is the extensive utilization of digitalization and the mobile Internet. Key applications in communications, working platforms and the automation of work processes affect work and leisure and their relationship in many ways. Digital platforms and the transition to online virtual work, the analysis and algorithmization of large bulk data into intelligent cloud services, artificial intelligence (AI), the ”Internet of Things” and ”mobile Internet”, machine learning and robotization are particularly associated with changes in the process, structure and contents of work – and possibly competencies.It has been claimed that there is no “new” technology as technologies develop continuously. However, the ability to produce, store, process, and transmit digitally coded information has grown exponentially in the last few decades. A decade ago cloud computing, mobile internet, and social media were unknown. In addition, though robotics is not a new phenomenon, it is today much more flexible because of better senses (sensors) and much more smart (software algorithms, processing capacity). In manufacturing, technologies such as 3D printing and additive manufacturing promise turn the world of producing physical objects into a fully-personalized on-demand manufacturing. This development could bring back home offshored work from faraway countries – and at the same time it influences structures of work processes and organizing. With the internet of things emerges an increasingly complete virtual copy of our physical world, which in turn enables new possibilities to collaborate (Pajarinen et al., 2015). The Internet exploits cloud technologies and big data and its analytics, and enables fully digital work. Cloud computing involves the storage of data in networked data centers and its processing and distribution as applications and services for individuals and organizations (Mosco, 2014). ´Big data‘ refers to the vast amounts of information that is gained, for example, from data transfers on the Internet and end-users‘ smart devices and their behavior.Different technologies, digital working platforms and digitalization of work seem to have specific outcomes to work processes, organizational structures and job contents and through them to needed competencies. They can:- Replace jobs and tasks by removing human labor in work processes, e.g., robotics and 3D printing in replacing work phases in manufacturing processes --> societal outcomes may be unemployment and disassembling competencies.- Renew jobs and tasks by adding new characteristics to jobs and tasks, e.g., medical diagnosis with the help of AI --> job enrichment, hybrid jobs, partly new competencies.- Create new jobs and tasks by reallocating jobs, e.g., work in social media, virtual worlds --> virtual economics, taxation, completely new competencies.In all, digitalization may create new jobs and tasks – or shrink them as in digital microwork platforms. Fully new digital services are created by benefitting cloud technologies and big data analytics. On the other hand, many tasks and jobs seem to disappear and related competencies are not needed anymore. However, as the world is not ready yet, old competencies are transformed into new ones through an evolution not a revolution and needed to solve future challenges.ReferencesAndriessen, J.H.Erik & Vartiainen, M. (Eds.) (2006) Mobile virtual work: A new paradigm? Heidelberg: Springer.Koroma, J. & Vartiainen, M. (2017) From presence to multipresence: Mobile knowledge workers’ densified hours. In: S. Taylor & S. Luckman (Eds.), The new normal of working lives: Critical studies in contemporary work and employment, pp. 171-200. Palgrave Macmillan.Mosco, V. (2014) To the cloud. Big data in a turbulent world. Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers.Pajarinen, M., Rouvinen, P. & Ekeland, A. (2015) Computerization Threatens One-Third of Finnish and Norwegian Employment”. ETLA Brief No 34. http://pub.etla.fi/ETLA-Muistio-Brief-34.pdf[1] ‘Competence’ refers to those characteristics, knowledge and behaviours a person has and uses, whereas a ‘competency’ refers to those (s)he needs. Both concepts are used in this article; one to refer ‘competence in use’, another to ‘competency needed’.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages88-89
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019
MoE publication typeNot Eligible
EventInternational Interdisciplinary Conference on Research on Work and Working Life - Helsinki, Finland
Duration: 14 Aug 201916 Aug 2019
Conference number: 4
http://workconference.fi/work2019/

Conference

ConferenceInternational Interdisciplinary Conference on Research on Work and Working Life
Abbreviated titleWORK
CountryFinland
CityHelsinki
Period14/08/201916/08/2019
Internet address

    Research areas

  • Competency, digital work, future

ID: 35893607