Our research revolves around several enduring themes:
Technical work practices
Although there are well established techniques for studying physical work, at present we do not know how to describe or study work that is mental or discursive. One objective of WTO’s research agenda is to document work practices in a variety of diverse technological settings.
Technologies and organizational forms
A key theme in WTO’s research program is the examination of how different technologies and work practices implicate different structural arrangements, standard operating procedures, incentive systems and other organizational forms, particularly distributed work arrangements.
Design and management of technologies for work
Designers’ beliefs about work and workers influence the way they design hardware, software, and physical settings. Similarly, the beliefs that managers hold about how work should be done shapes the way they design and manage organizations. WTO is interested in understanding the link between models of work and its actual practice.
Interplay between work and everyday life
Digital technologies appear to be restructuring our lives at home as well as at work, partially by blurring the boundary between the two. Yet, we know little about how new rhythms of work shape the everyday lives of workers and their families. These issues are of considerable interest to WTO.
Implications of the knowledge economy
The spread of digital technologies is partially responsible for the shift from an industrial to a knowledge-based economy. These developments imply drastic changes in the occupational structure and in the nature and meaning of employment. WTO is engaged in researching the labor force implications of these technological changes.