Making and Breaking Boundaries in
Work and Employment Relations

the 19th ILERA World Congress, Lund, Sweden, 21–24 June 2021


Track 5

Innovation and Emerging Trends in Work

Contemporary society and the world of work are facing multiple challenges and forces of change and innovation. Some of these long-term forces are defined as megatrends, such as globalization, demographics, climate change, and new technology. Megatrends are borderless, and they are likely to change the world of work (although we do not exactly know how). Since they are shaped, moreover, by both global and local contexts, they vary in their manifestations, impacts, and actor responses. Huge and variegated efforts are now being made through collective action, and by politicians and businesses, to promote social and institutional innovation in the world of work, sometimes driven by unexpected events such as Covid-19. It is important for the world of work that scientific debate be promoted and that knowledge about possible, probable, and preferable futures feed into sound policy formation and decision-making. For example, how can technological advances such as artificial intelligence, automation, and robotics, be applied to ensure that production has an environmentally sustainable footprint, and that decent, inclusive, and equitable forms of work are developed? Answering such looming questions requires innovative reforms in the ways we work, and in how we distribute the burdens and benefits of change. Faced as we are by an unpredictable world of work, we have a greater need than ever for empirical studies on new and imaginative ways of organizing, rewarding, and managing work – matched with scientific knowledge about causality and complexity.

We welcome papers and special sessions on such topics as the following:

- Digitalization, AI, automation, robotization, and the consequences of such trends for the form and content of work
- The gig economy, platform work, new workforces, and beyond
- The changing interaction and boundaries between humans at work, and between humans and machines
- Innovative technology, emerging technologies, and innovation in the organization and institutions of work
- Climate change, greening of the economy, and the implications for work and employment relations. Are borders emerging or disappearing?