Shaping technology in the immaterial labour process: Empowerment instead of self-optimisation - Wearables and self-monitoring as a means of humanising office jobs – an empirical case study

Aktivität: Vortrag ohne Tagungsband / VorlesungPräsentation auf einer wissenschaftlichen Konferenz / Workshop


We currently observe significant changes of work organisations and accelerating work intensification, partly due to an increasing integration of digital tools in office work. Drawing on a social shaping of technology approach, we explore the design options and the use context of self-monitoring tools with the goal of humanising highly digitised work. To do so, the project’s interdisciplinary research team will use two different self-tracking tools (headband and smartwatch) to collect biometric data to monitor stress and concentration-levels of employees in two company case studies in the field of office work. For this purpose, participating employees will wear the tracking tools for combined two work weeks and the will self-document their workdays in a diary study. The data obtained will provide individualised experience reports, which will give the participants important information to reflect on job situations and potential stressors. The employees participating in the study will discuss their individual experiences in focus groups, which simulate occupational health circles and strengthen workers’ participation in work design. Problem-centred interviews with the middle management well as with members of the workers’ council will complete our data corpus.
Taking the introduction of wearables in the immaterial labour process as a starting point and based on our empirical case studies, we aim at addressing the ambivalences between self-optimisation and health promotion at the workplace. Our main goal is to explore the use of digital self-monitoring tools for the purpose of humanisation of highly digitised work and to find out how the threat of excessive self-optimisation and ‘motivated self-endangerment’ can be turned into an opportunity of empowering employees to improve their health and quality of work. Focusing on the ambivalences between self-optimisation and health promotion and the question of the reliability of the obtained data, our paper offers a discussion on the quantified-self at the workplace, a discussion of the study design and first insights into our case studies.
Zeitraum12 Apr. 202314 Apr. 2023
Ereignistitel41st International Labour Process Conference
OrtGlasgow, Großbritannien/Vereinigtes KönigreichAuf Karte anzeigen

Research Field

  • Experience Business Transformation
  • Ehemaliges Research Field - Experience Measurement


  • technological change
  • social shaping of technology
  • brainwork
  • office work
  • wearables at the workplace
  • biometric data collection
  • technostress
  • humanising digital transformation
  • work intensification