Weifeng Chen, Ashley Braganza, Serap Sap and I have investigating how Artificial Intelligence (AI) impacts on work (as opposed to jobs) and workers. Previously, we had found that AI-enabled work automation caused significant uncertainties for workers, and a change in the relationship between workers and their employers, towards independence between the two parties.
Building on that work, we have now explored the link between automation and the flexibilisation of work, on the one hand, and workers’ engagement and satisfaction with their job on the other. We identified two types of effect: first, the flexibilization of work itself (for instance, being able to work flexible times) improves workers’ satisfaction and engagement with their jobs. However, the use of digital platforms to manage work assignments (e.g., filling in timesheets, allocation of new tasks, obtaining feedback on the work done) reduces that positive relationship. We posit that that effect occurs because such digital platforms remove workers’ sense of control and ability to balance competing demands.