Is Automation the Future of Casework? Automation Projects and the Emergence of New Work Tasks

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Public sector organizations increasingly implement automation technologies, typically with the promise of an easier workload for public employees and more efficient case processing. This study challenges these promises of efficiency, arguing that some work tasks are often missing from the equations. Based on a case study of a Danish job center, this paper shows how new tasks emerge in relation to the implementation of automation technologies and why these need to be made visible. The study is ongoing and data is generated through document analysis, interviews and observations. Initial findings show that the implementation of the automation technologies were challenged by different elements; bureaucratic structures, complexities of the cases and other digital technologies. In the interplay between the automation technologies and the abovementioned elements, new work tasks emerged. The caseworkers e.g. spent time on trouble shooting, digital support of colleagues, double-checking and cross platform balancing. Tasks that were time-consuming, yet not accounted for in the planning of the automation projects. It is argued that such task needs to be acknowledged, in order to not only create more realistic project planning in the future, but also to understand the experience of work intensification among caseworkers.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021
EventNordic Science and Technology Studies Conference 2021: STS and the Future as a Matter of Collective Concern - Copenhagen Business School, Frederiksberg, Denmark
Duration: 20 May 202121 May 2021


ConferenceNordic Science and Technology Studies Conference 2021
LocationCopenhagen Business School
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