What impact do technological developments, for example the increased use of IT-systems, artificial intelligence and social media, have on working life and the working environment?
Research on work environment has mainly focused on risks in workplaces and how they affect the physical, social and psychological work environment. This project wants to shift perspectives and highlight risks that are associated with the digital work environment, which has become increasingly relevant as a consequence of technological development, including the use of IT-systems, artificial intelligence and social media. In fact, working life has changed in terms of continuous blurring of boundaries between work and private life. The importance of digital work environment has recently begun to be addressed in research, but this field is still under development. The project aims to understand and explain what consequences internet and social media have on working life and working environment by focusing on hate speech directed towards workers and organizations. Most previous research has neglected hatred, threats and violations through Internet and social media even though it is a growing problem causing great concern. The project will explore the extent to which hate speech against professionals occurs, how it is expressed and what attitudes and strategies individuals and organizations adopt to handle it.
The project will compare three groups of professionals: social workers, teachers and journalists. Data will be collected through a survey directed to a sample of 7500 workers. The quantitative data will be complemented by a qualitative study of three work places with focus group and individual interviews, observations and text analyses of documents.
The project is highly relevant for working life research as it will show how technology affects working life and work environment. A key contribution is to highlight how hatred, threats and violations that have occurred in new arenas are understood and handled, and to theorize about where organizations’ and individuals’ responsibilities begin and end at a time when technological developments have blurred traditional boundaries between work and private life.