Current Research and Practice
Chapter 9: Psychological Health and Technological Change
INTRODUCTION The relationship between psychological health and the implementation and usage of technology has been the subject of considerable debate and empirical research for many years. It is recognized that technological changes, both at work and more generally, have had an enormous impact on people’s lives and that much of this influence has been constructive and beneficial. For instance information and communication technologies (ICTs) have significantly affected the way in which work is carried out, especially through providing greater (and more timely) access to information and speeding up the transmission of information between people and organizations. In addition new technology has created a more ‘mobile’ workforce and increased use of telecommuting. These changes can yield positive benefits for individuals as well as their organizations. On the other hand, there is also growing concern over the ‘dark side’ of new technologies (especially ICT) and their potential negative impacts on individual and societal well-being. This chapter provides an overview of the impact of technology on the psychological health and well-being of individual workers. This is not intended to diminish the importance of physical health considerations, which have been discussed in detail by other commentators (Beckers and Schmidt, 2003; Coovert and Thompson, 2003; Coovert et al., 2005), but simply to concentrate on the psychosocial influences of technology. Secondly our aim is not to offer a comprehensive review of all the empirical research which has been conducted in this domain, but rather to highlight some of the key issues which impinge upon individuals in...
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