The conference hosts numerous streams with multidisciplinary themes on work and working life research.
The streams and their detailed descriptions are listed below. Please, click plus image to access the description.
1. CLIMATE CHANGE AND WORK
Chair: Tero Kuusi, Etla, FI
The transition towards environmental sustainability will result in disruptions of the economic system and employment in the coming decades. The transition involves changes in the working environment and demand of skills, as well as reallocation of work. It will pose major challenges, but also opportunities if and when a well-designed climate change action leads to more and better jobs. This stream will address the complex questions of sustainability at working life and employment systems among others from, but not restricted to the economic systems’ point of view. Papers and presentations concerning the transitions of working life and sustainability, economic systems transforming work and skills at work, and e.g. the questions of ‘loss of jobs’, with sustainability demands are especially welcomed from all research fields. Papers exploring more generally the theme of the conference are welcomed.
2. DIGITALISATION AND ROBOTICS IN WORKING LIFE
Chair: Tuomas Mäkilä, University of Turku, FI
Digitalization and robotics mean changes in the ways work gets organized. The challenges that relate to digitalization and robotics are vast, ranging from social learning of robotics to new forms of services where robotics are part of the delivery. As research on work and robotics has for a long time mainly focused on the industrial applications of robotics, the service robots and robots replacing humans at work have grown in importance. The complexity of the relationship of social world and technology becomes highly visible in the working life where digitalization and robotics become part of the work. Papers exploring the theme of robotics in working life and more generally the theme of the conference are welcomed.
3. ECOLOGICAL-TECHNICAL TRANSFORMATION AND SOCIAL IMPACT
Chairs: Robert Helmrich & Alexandra Mergener, Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB), DE
Ecological transformations in energy, water and food supply, environmental and climate protection, resource reduction and the circular economy affect all areas of the labor market and initiate changes in processes, structures and in employment. Technology is also changing rapidly and is both the cause of the problems and part of the solution. Employees are exposed to changes that affect their skills, the demands placed on them, and their spatial and temporal availability. The stream welcomes presentations dealing with the interrelations between ecological and technological changes that alter labor market structures and processes, work arrangements, and skills. Papers focusing more generally on the issue of ecological and technological transformations from the perspective of social impacts and consequences are also welcomed.
4. EDUCATION, WORK AND LEARNING
Chairs: Kaija Collin & Susanna Paloniemi, University of Jyväskylä, FI
Education, work, and learning are intertwined in several ways. This stream addresses the topic of interplay between education and working life and invites papers on various aspects of learning-work relations. Transition from school to work (and vice versa), the array of continuing and informal learning activities in work organizations, education, and training are examples of such relations. Capacities in relation to class, gender, cultural, generational, or other social differences offer insights into multiple relations between education, work, and learning. Further, the Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on people’s lives. Flexible working and learning arrangements, virtual learning environments and online professional learning are particularly topical issues. The stream welcomes papers that relate to the topics described above. Papers exploring more generally the theme of the conference are also welcomed.
5. FUTURE WORK BEYOND PLATFORMS
Chair: Seppo Poutanen, University of Turku, FI
Digitalisation and platformisation have for some years been two general and central conceptual handles to grasp what we conventionally call “new forms of work”. But do these conceptualisations, together with their elaborations and contextualized specifications, still have real analytical and revelatory power, or have they rather already gone the broad way of “neoliberalism”? The session calls for papers addressing the critical reflections on the actual analytical and critical power of “digitalization” and “platformisation”, and for conceptual innovations concerning the potential and fruitful ways forward. Papers exploring more generally the theme of the conference are also welcomed.
6. GENDERING WORK
Chairs: Minna Nikunen & Hanna-Mari Ikonen, University of Jyväskylä, FI
Gender and work are entangled in several complex ways. Work is embodied and person-related, and its percussions to gendering society reach beyond the work itself. It is therefore crucial to analyze how gender relates to work and how it is located in structures, meanings, interactions and subjects constituted and reconstituted in work. The questions of embodied work and ways through which the gendering of work takes place are among the topics of interest in this stream. The contemporary questions in relation to gendered effects of pandemics, increasing inflation and the shadow of war to working life, and inequalities in relation to gendered working life are welcomed. Papers and studies addressing the gendering taking place at different levels and in different processes of working life, are of interest. Papers exploring more generally the theme of the conference from gender perspective are welcomed.
7. HYBRID WORKING – A PATHWAY TO BETTER WORKING LIFE?
Chair: Tuomo Alasoini, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, FI
The spread of remote work due to the COVID-19 pandemic can be considered a work-related digital revolution comparable to the breakthrough of microcomputers (1980s), e-mail and the Internet (1990s) and mobile internet and social media (2000s). A significant part of employees switched to remote work, experiencing a kind of ‘autonomy leap’ in their work. Employers’ concerns about the erosion of work morale and a drop in productivity did not materialize. As the COVID-19 pandemic recedes, hybrid ways of working will be gaining ground, leading to an increased diversification of organizational practices. What are these practices like in different organizational contexts? How do they evolve from the interaction between employers and employees? Will they improve employees’ quality of work and digital agency, or will they rather accelerate fragmentation of work, social isolation and exclusion for a growing number of employees?
8. INDIVIDUAL AND ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE IN WORK ORGANIZATIONS
Chairs: Monika E. von Bonsdorff, & Tuisku Takala, University of Jyväskylä, FI
The Stream calls for papers and presentations related to and addressing the broad fields of current and contemporary changes at individual and organizational levels in work organizations. Papers especially with aim to develop new theoretical approaches with rigorous research findings, are particularly welcomed. Papers and presentations across different fields, such as management, organization studies, psychology, sociology and economics are welcomed. This stream welcomes both conceptual and empirical work, using qualitative and/or quantitative methods. Papers exploring more generally the theme of the conference are welcomed.
9. LEARNING AND WORK
Chairs: Maija Vähämäki, University of Turku & Maarit Laiho, Turku University of Applied Sciences, FI
The global pandemic has changed our ways of working and at the same time also affected learning requirements and preparedness for remote working. Learning at work has new manifestations alongside the virtual and mobile facilities. Are the learning organizations still comprehensible social units or are we now gathering pieces of knowledge from everywhere as learning individuals? The recent crisis might also create new ways of participation or build communities of inclusion or exclusion for learning. The stream invites papers on the topic of work and learning from different disciplines and perspectives. Papers discussing of new innovative and encouraging ways of learning or critical examinations of the topic are welcomed.
10. OPEN STREAM
Chairs: Anne Kovalainen & Marja Rautajoki, University of Turku, FI
If you have a paper proposal in line with the conference theme but that cannot be accommodated by any of the stream topics and descriptions given above, you are welcome to submit it to the Open Stream. Also, you wish to contribute a Poster you are welcome to submit your proposal to the Open Stream.
The organizers will group the Open Stream papers and poster proposals according to their topics, and will try to ensure that all accepted papers and posters in the Open Stream are accommodated in the conference programme.
11. PLATFORM WORK: THEORY, RESEARCH AND ACTION
Chair: Steven Vallas, Northeastern University, US
The spread of the on-demand economy has provoked an outpouring of debate among social scientists, as well as legal and political debate within cities across the world. This stream invites papers that help make sense of the growth of platform work in its many forms, their consequences for the quality of employment, and possible responses regarding socially beneficial forms of regulation as well. The stream especially invites papers and presentations that address the individual and/or collective actions against or in relation to platform work. Papers exploring more generally the theme of the conference are welcomed as well.
12. PRECARIOUS EMPLOYMENT AND DIGITAL WORLD
Chair: Merja Kauhanen, Labour Institute for Economic Research, FI
Precarity as a form of employment refers to poorly paid, often unprotected and usually insecure work. Precarity is taking new forms which need more detailed analyses of how and in what ways precarity becomes part of the employment patterns. The consequences of precarious employment are many, ranging from individual, such as salary effects to effects on families and communities. The intensification of precarious employment can be seen as a current phenomenon. The most hidden consequences, such as the situation of ‘undocumented’ workers, range from health and safety issues to civic engagement and citizenship issues at large. Papers may examine forms of precarious employment and various impacts of these positions, including family, health, civic engagement, political participation, generational shifts, gender inequality and other areas of social life. The digital divide and pandemic bring in new aspects to precarious employment. The stream especially welcomes papers that relate to the themes described above. Papers exploring more generally the theme of the conference are welcomed.
13. SILENCES AND FRINGE AREAS: EMPLOYEES, WORK PLACES AND INSTITUTIONS IN ECOLOGICAL AND SOCIAL DISRUPTION
Chairs: Markku Sippola, University of Helsinki, FI, Hertta Vuorenmaa, Aalto University, FI and Tuija Koivunen, University of Tampere, FI
Working life and labour markets contain fringe areas and silences. This stream focuses on several fringe areas. We have identified fringe areas or silences at three levels: 1) Individuals performing paid or unpaid work, or in unemployment, 2) Organizations/companies and new ways of leading and organizing work, 3) Various institutions regulating labour markets and collective labour contracts. All three levels, individuals, organizations and institutions, and the ways they are not presently functioning, are examined in the wider context of environmental, social and technological change. What types of silences can be identified on individual, work place and institutional levels? What kind of new ways of addressing the present issues are needed? What are the actions on societal, institutional and workplace levels that would provide protection for employees whilst also protecting the environment? Stream invites papers multidisciplinary and multimethod papers that entail multiple agencies. Papers exploring more generally the theme of the conference are also welcomed.
14. SMART HOMES, PRIVATE SPACES – REORGANIZING WORK
Chairs: Lena Weber, GESIS, DE, Julia Gruhlich, Paderborn University, DE, Anne Kovalainen, University of Turku, FI
The pandemic has drastically changed our ways of thinking about space for work. During pandemic the home became work space for those who were able to move to remote work. Simultaneously, the home remained private space for recuperation from work, for free time, family time and own time. How to analyse the simultaneous presence of work at home and home at work, private space and public display of privacy? The analyses of new types of gendered spaces and reorganizing of private time with work times are of special interest in this session. Papers exploring the theme of private space in working life and more generally the theme of the conference are welcomed.
15. TECHNOLOGY AND EVERY DAY LIFE
Chairs: Farhan Ahmad, University of Turku, Gunilla Widén, Åbo Akademi University, Isto Huvila, Uppsala University, FI
Technology is integrated in our everyday life and it is difficult to imagine how to manage without the numerous innovations that shape today’s information society. There are positive effects, such as improved communication, better access to information, flexible work, better possibilities to combine work and everyday life, to mention a few. The negative effects bring overload leaving the individual with the responsibility to evaluate the trustworthiness of information. Increasing challenges with privacy and security issues, and the stress and absence of borders between professional and everyday life need further also exploration. The stream welcomes papers addressing the mentioned themes or other topics relevant to the overall theme. Research focusing on the individual perspective, workplace contexts or societal levels, and empirical, methodological or theoretical papers are welcomed. Papers exploring more generally the theme of the conference are welcomed.
16. TECHNOLOGY TRANSFORMING CARE WORK AND PROFESSIONALS
Chairs: Mervi Hasu, University of Oslo & Eveliina Saari, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, FI
New technological devices and systems create opportunities for improving the productivity and quality of health and social care, and promise a solution to the crisis of care currently faced in ageing societies. Recent research indicates that a main challenge in realizing these new opportunities is to integrate technologies with the whole system of service provision including the frontline workers and users. Proper integration calls for innovations in institutional arrangements, management, organization of work and ways of working. The stream welcomes empirical and theoretical papers of the topics addressing questions such as how is technology transforming care work, its organization and practices of care work. The stream also welcomes papers of the general theme.
17. WORK AND FAMILY
Chair: Jerry Jacobs, University of Pennsylvania, US
The stream encourages submissions in the area of work and family, broadly defined. Particular issues may include the impact of COVID-19 on work and family, remote and hybrid work arrangements, care work, child care, care issues pertaining to older adults and people with disabilities. Diversity, intersectionality, international and interdisciplinary perspectives are welcome.
18. WORK, HEALTH AND WELL-BEING
Chairs: Sanna Salanterä, Laura-Maria Peltonen & Anni Pakarinen, University of Turku, FI
Even in contemporary Covid-19 situation work as such has in most cases a positive impact on peoples’ health and well-being. The questions of working life and employees’ mental and physical well-being are highly important at the moment. However, also traditional work hazards still affect large numbers of workers, and during the Covid-19 in new ways. The questions of the occupational hazards with heavy physical or mental workloads need to addressed. At the same time, most work tasks are demanding more and more cognitive skills placing increasing pressure on workers’ mental stamina. Well-being in modern work can be developed and maintained with justice to all workers.
The stream welcomes papers from all aspects concerning work ability maintenance, working life skills, leadership, and digital innovations related to human well-being and productivity. Papers exploring more generally the theme of the conference are welcomed.