Workers and Technology

Brain with Gears

Technological innovations are transforming what people do, how work is performed, and the subjective work experience.


In healthcare, the application of new information technologies is forging new patterns of teamwork and pacing.


Smartphones have expanded work across time and space, often eliminating traditional boundaries between work and non-work/family.


Manufacturing Plant
New robotic technologies are modifying the knowledge and skills attentional demands required for job performance.   
The Center highlights the need to understand how new tools and systems affect learning, social relations, decision-making, and job attitudes. Understanding the impact of new workplace technologies on people also has important implications for career development and worker well-being. Research topics of interest include, for example:
  1. How changes in technology, workspaces, and always-on demands affect work-nonwork conflicts, work attitudes, and job stress.
  2. How changes associated with human factors engineering affect decision-making, engagement, and innovation.
  3. The features of new work architectures that spur creativity, innovation, and health.

Relevant WSC Content

  • People on smartphones
    Blog entry
    WSC Network Research Highlight: The Social Price of Smartphones

    Smartphones have become pervasive. Work Science Center Network Member, Kostadin Kushlev, recently published a review on the social costs of smartphone usage. Smartphones are designed to capture our attention, and increased use has been shown to increase perceived distraction and negative mood while decreasing feelings of social connectedness, meaning, and enjoyment. Beyond the negative effects of being distracted by a smartphone during social situations, smartphones have begun to eliminate the need for many common social interactions, altogether.

  • Doctor and robot interacting
    Blog entry
    Mapping Signs of Trust in Robots

    A paper published on sensing human trust in machines explores the psychophysiological features that indicate how humans perceive intelligent system. A subsequent goal of the study was to build a trust sensor model to train machines to adjust their behavior according to the subject’s perception. The results of the study showed that the body tends to change in a specific pattern in response to increased trust in a machine in real-time. By using and improving these models in the future, it is possible that machines will be able to adjust their behaviors based on human psychophysiological response. This would increase the trust between humans and machines and allow for effortless interactions that increase the efficiency of work

  • Surgical team
    Blog entry
    Robot-Assisted Surgeries: Technology Changing Team Dynamics

    The introduction of new technology to the workplace can influence the way employees complete their tasks, including how they coordinate with one another. A case study observed four surgical procedures using the da Vinci surgical system (a robot designed to minimize the invasiveness of surgeries). By taking one of the leaders of the team and physically removing them from the work environment, and by introducing a technology that necessitates a new set of skills and behaviors from all remaining members, the use of effective communication and coordination becomes increasingly important for teams. The nature and pattern of these communications must also change.

  • Robot head
    Blog entry
    Technology and Emotions

    As the role of technology in the workplace increases, we have to continue to examine what the role of humans is, and will be. One quality of humanity that sets us apart from technology (so far) is the ability to feel, express, and share in emotions. Three recent examples of advances in technology at work focus on the role of emotions at the human-technology interface.

  • Laptop with instagram loaded
    Blog entry
    Network Research Highlight: Cyber-Vetting May Be Limiting Talent Pools

    Work published by Jeske, Lippke, and WSC Network Member Kenneth Shultz, suggests that employers who require applicants to share their social media account information for cyber-vetting may be limiting their applicant pool on traits that are not necessarily relevant to job performance (e.g., preference for privacy). These results, in addition to the range of potential legal issues associated with cyber-vetting, suggest that organizations should proceed with caution and care when venturing into these murky waters.