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Technological advances in working practices: implications for employee psychological well-being.

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DatePublished - 2013
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Rapid, and revolutionary, technological advances, such as the increasing automation of job roles, have occurred in Western society in recent years. These have changed the way we live our lives and also have implications for the way we work (Hislop and Axtell, 2009). According to the conservation of resources (COR) theory ?promotion of wellbeing and prevention of stress depend on the availability and successful management of resources? (Hobfoll, 2001). Drawing on this theory, this paper explores how some technological changes have restricted the availability of resources to employees, and led to the depersonalisation of the workplace.
A mixed-methods case study of a large public sector organisation in the UK was conducted. Findings from the semi-structured interviews (n=31) and from qualitative diaries, which were completed twice a day for a two week period (n=11), will be presented here.
Drawing on principles of Grounded Theory (Glaser and Strauss, 1967), qualitative analysis established that technological changes influencing working practices can affect access to, and availability of social support and, the potential adverse effects of this on employee well-being.
The results suggest that organisations need to acknowledge the potential adverse effect of technological changes, aimed at achieving organisational level goals, on employee well-being and consider ways to offset these. Findings and implications will be pertinent to certain professions, or to specific job roles.
To date, few studies in work and organisational psychology have qualitatively explored the effects of technological changes in working practices on employee psychological well-being.

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