Chapter 18: Empowering or taking over? A job design perspective on the effects of cobots' introduction in the manufacturing industry
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With the introduction of cobots at work, the academic discussion has been centered mostly on the functional aspects of human-robot collaboration and also on the implications that it has on the future of jobs. From a work design perspective, it is crucial to consider the meaning that the shared tasks at the intersection level of such collaboration have for individual aspects of work. Holding a job design perspective as an analytical toolkit, in this chapter we show that for different routine and nonroutine tasks’ work characteristics, such as autonomy, task variety and physical and cognitive demands, task and skill development are simultaneously imbued with threats and opportunities. Such opposing logics suggest the importance to focus on the unintended and indirect effects of technology, and the great need to shape work design considering human-centered technologies. The study has implications for human resource management, as an important stakeholder in mitigating potential risks of poorly designed jobs.

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