Worker with VR glasses

Work Design

Work design plays a central role in understanding and evaluating new technologies and how they may affect work demands and work resources of the working person.

Head of department
Prof. Dr. Gerhard Rinkenauer
Ardeystr. 67
44139 Dortmund

Radical changes in working and private life are expected because of the acceleration of technological change. On the one hand, new technologies offer enormous opportunities for work and society. Modern technologies can replace boring, dirty, and dangerous work and also enable better services. In addition, technology can also enhance human performance, leading to amazing successes, such as cognitive support in medical diagnostics or physical support for work through exoskeletons. New opportunities are being opened to deploy cross-site teams, as well as to create flexible working conditions where people and work can move freely within and between organizations.

However, the technologies and the work practices emerging from them also pose risks to workers. For example, there is widespread agreement that new technologies will have a significant impact on the overall structure of work processes and workforces, which could change human work in quite radical ways. Currently, there is a strong trend to automate physical and cognitive work tasks, which means that increasingly humans, digitized machines, robots and AI systems will work together and depend on each other. This raises the question of how tasks, jobs, work, and technology should be designed as a whole, and how tasks can be optimally shared between humans and machines.

The goal of our laboratory and field research is therefore to gain a better understanding of the impact of new technologies on work design. In doing so, the researchers aim to proactively minimize the risks of new technologies and maximize the well-being, health, and performance of working people through adequate design of technology and work processes.


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