Hidden Technological Work: Looking for Service-4.0-Pioneers (Research, 2020-2021)

The study focuses on the often invisible use of digital technologies in the service sector. The aim is to determine which hidden technological work, that (mostly female) employees in the service do in their everyday work and which not communicated - and therefore not assessed - digital skills they bring.

Therewith service 4.0 pioneers should be brought in front of the curtain to draw a comprehensive picture of the technological work being done from an interdisciplinary approach focusing on mobile nurses and retail clerks.

The knowledge, generated in this process, should be used to provide specific political support tailored to the identified problems. New discussions on upgrading female employment (and the hidden technological work it contains) should be stimulated. New cross-departmental alliances are to be formed in order to distribute the share of positive technological changes in the workplace more fairly.

Herewith, a broad setting of survey - adapted to the situation and questions - should be used, which enables a participatory exchange and the introduction of different perspectives. The following methods are being used:

  • discussions with employees and group discussions to jointly interpret "typical" everyday situations and patterns in connection with the tools,
  • moderated dialogues, group discussions or interviews between users and designers of technologies,
  • observations at the place where the technologies are designed and deployed with ad hoc interviews,
  • artifact analysis of the working environment and image analysis of photos of the workplace taken by the employees themselves (with a smartphone or a camera provided),
  • the use of social media platforms or online forms for first-hand experience reports without endangering the anonymity of our participants towards their employers.

The project is funded by the Digitalisation Fund Work 4.0: Call "Equality in Digital Change" by the Chamber of Labour Vienna and carried out in cooperation with Geraldin Fitzpatrick & Janis Lena Meißner from the Vienna University of Technology and Edeltraud Haselsteiner from Urbanity.

Team: Nadja Bergmann, Nicolas Pretterhofer

Client: Chamber of Labour Vienna

Status: running