Exploring our Future of Work Series, we delve into the projects of four professors from the School of Information Studies. Workplaces have always been evolving, but with the advent of new technologies, and the pressures of a global pandemic, these changes have been accelerated exponentially.

The School of Information Studies has four professors who are determined to get ahead of the inevitable paradigm shifts, and help workers step gracefully out of conventional workplace traditions and designs, and confidently enter the work environments of the future.

Looking for a program that lets you study the future of work? Check out our undergraduate and graduate programs at the iSchool.

Unleashing imagination at work.

In Process Automation Will Unleash the Knowledge of Knowledge-Based Workers, we introduce the work of professor Kevin Crowston and his team. Crowston’s curiosity led him to secure funding for studying ways of optimizing process automation in knowledge-based industries. This project will lead to new ways of using process automation and machine learning in order to complement the efforts of professional thinkers.

Optimizing work using technology.

The Honeymoon Phase of the Human and Machine Courtship highlights professors Carsten Østerlund and Ingrid Erickson and their work to better understand the true nature, and potential future, of the relationship between human workers and machine learning technologies. They explore the features and benefits of symbiotic connections between humans and machines.

Who owns your data at work?

Data Collection, Privacy, and Ownership in a Brave New Digital Work Environment profiles the intersection of work between professors Østerlund and Crowston. Here we look at the implications of large amounts of employee data being collected, protected, and used responsibly for the benefit of all stakeholders. Instead of using data analytics to create punitive work environments, these professors seek to use data to improve systems and conditions for employees.

Measuring invisible productivity.

In Measuring the Productivity of an Invisible Workforce, we revisit professor Erickson. This project focuses more on the social aspects of the changing work environment. As organizational culture and the sense of work community become ever more important facets of overall job quality and satisfaction, professors Erickson and Sawyer are exploring the future of work through a social lens.