Autonomy and Responsibility in an Augmented Reality Supported Assembly Task

Cornelia Gerdenitsch (Speaker), Thomas Meneweger, Christina Stockreiter, Paul Butterer, Martina Halbwachs, Daniel Scheiblhofer

Research output: Chapter in Book or Conference ProceedingsConference Proceedings with Oral Presentationpeer-review


Purpose: Similar to physical workplace characteristics, the use of digital technologies at work affects well-being and productivity. Augmented Reality (AR) technology has become increasingly popular in the corporate environment especially in the context of manufacturing (Daling et al., 2020; Dey et al., 2018). Thereby previous research has focused on comparing AR based assembly instructions with other types instructions (e.g., Hou et al., 2013). Little is known about how AR alters working conditions. In this article, we shed light on the sense of autonomy and responsibility people experience during an AR supported assembly task. Theory: Autonomy as a working condition represents the degree of freedom one has in one's work. A high degree of autonomy is related to the feeling of being responsible for work (Job characteristics model; Hackman & Oldham, 1976, 1980). Within the scope of AR assistance, autonomy may be increased if workers feel supported in carrying out their tasks autonomously, but may also be reduced if people experience that they are controlled by technology. In the latter case, we expect the sense of responsibility to be limited. Methodology: We conducted a laboratory experiment with 117 participants who were asked to assemble a workpiece using an AR system. We then conducted interviews in which we asked participants about their experiences and their sense of autonomy and responsibility. Results: Findings demonstrated a limited perception of autonomy during AR-assisted assembly. Connected to this, participants took over a passive working role and felt a limited responsibility for the output. Nevertheless, participants still internally attribute errors they made. Originality/Value: Research on the increasingly digital workplace is important, especially as the boundaries between real and virtual environments may merge in future work environments. In this study we developed an AR application, tested effects on autonomy and responsibility and derived design implications that should support future digital workplace design.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Transdisciplinary Workplace Research (TWR) Conference 2020
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventTWR2020: The second Transdisciplinary Workplace Research conference -
Duration: 16 Sept 202019 Sept 2020


ConferenceTWR2020: The second Transdisciplinary Workplace Research conference

Research Field

  • Experience Business Transformation


  • workplace technologies
  • augmented reality
  • mixed reality
  • assembly
  • autonomy
  • responsibility


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