The Future of Work and Employment
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The Future of Work and Employment

Edited by Adrian Wilkinson and Michael Barry

This cutting-edge book charts the latest ideas and concepts in employment relations research. Mapping out the intellectual boundaries of the field, The Future of Work and Employment outlines the key research and policy outcomes for work and employment in the age of digitisation and artificial intelligence.
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Chapter 7: Financing the future of work: who pays?

Jean Cushen


The common theme underpinning commentaries on the Future of Work is radical technological innovation. Evaluating firm expenditures in technology and complementary investments in intangible assets yields insights into the future of work that human resource management (HRM) is likely to be tasked with delivering. The evidence indicates that an expanding number of firms are less inclined to spend on intangible assets to the level required to achieve sustainable productive value from new technologies. Instead, ‘winner takes all’ dynamics are occurring whereby only the largest firms make the consistent internal investments in the developmental HRM practices required for productivity gains, while productivity elsewhere stagnates or declines. In other words, the ‘people advantage’ appears to be out of reach for an increasing number of firms. Counteracting this trend requires HRM to take a more active role in firm level debates on internal investments in order to elevate productive value and protect the future quality of work.

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