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Work and working in a changing world

Recent years have witnessed far reaching changes being made to the nature and organization of work and to work relationships, driven at least in part by increased competitive pressures, growing global integration and developments in information and communication technologies. Much has been written about the subject in scholarly and practitioner publications alongside increasing interest in the broader media. A central concern has been changes in the nature and organization of work and the relationship between organizations and the individuals that carry out work for them, as employees or contractors. These changes have also been connected to implications for society in general, including the implications for public spending, education and economic performance. Some commentators observe how changes in technology have facilitated greater flexibility in working arrangements, benefiting employees. Others, however, have argued that more jobs have become more precarious and characterized by increased job insecurity and work intensification (Hassard & Morris, 2018; Huws, et al, 2018; Rubery, et al., 2018). Recent industry reports have suggested that such changes will also lead to the creation of new jobs and potentially to new, improved ways of working with greater opportunities for learning and development (e.g. Deloitte, 2018; Price Waterhouse Coopers, 2017; World Economic Forum, 2016). In light of these developments, this Symposium examines contemporary changes in the nature of work, how it is conducted, how these changes are implemented and experienced by stakeholders. It will bring together contributions from an international group of established scholars working in the field drawing on empirical evidence from the UK, the Netherlands and North America. The papers are concerned with the findings of studies that explore the impact of technology on working arrangements, how they are experienced by employees and the extent to which technology can serve as a means of responding to complexity, uncertainty and ambiguity in today’s labour market.