Das Bild zeigt das Cover der Ausgabe.

: Issue 01/2024

WSI-Mitteilungen 1/2024, pp. 3-9

Pauline Schneider, Olaf Struck

Digital Technology and Loss of Power Resources in Transport Logistics 4.0


The article examines the impact of digitalisation on the quality of work for professional truck drivers in Germany. Within the field of transport logistics the use of digital technology and control systems is far advanced. This has an impact on work processes which are becoming increasingly standardised, rationalised and condensed. In cases where technology significantly simplifies tasks, transport companies are also able to employ more workers with lower qualifications, often recruited from abroad. Local employees, on the other hand, face a loss of power resources due to intensified technological control and deskilling, which poses significant challenges to effective representation of their interests. The authors present the underlying strategy of rationalisation based on empirical findings and review potential approaches for collective and trade union interventions. more … (in German)

WSI-Mitteilungen 1/2024, pp. 10-17

Julia Bringmann, Benjamin Henry Petersen, Philipp Staab

Networked Clinic. New Tensions and New Alliances


The hospital sector in Germany, and related acute inpatient nursing care, is currently undergoing a radical change, which is characterised by the concept of the networked hospital. The core of the networked hospital is the implementation of a comprehensive hospital information system, which should enable a new degree of data consistency and usage. The article addresses the questions of whether and how the work process of the nursing staff and the practice of workplace co-determination are changed by the use of this comprehensive software system. Based on a case study, it becomes clear that the work process continues to be controlled primarily indirectly and with the inclusion of the self-organisation of the employees including partial interlinking with market requirements. In addition, it is shown that an efficiency alliance between management and employee representatives has been established that is capable of taking action. The core function of the efficiency alliance is a new, anticipatory handling of (potential) labour conflicts because this is the only way to counter the technical and organisational (path) dependency of software providers. more … (in German)

WSI-Mitteilungen 1/2024, pp. 18-25

Sonja Köhne, Miriam Klöpper, Georg Von Richthofen, Hendrik Send

Autonomy through Algorithms? People Analytics from the Perspective of Self-determination


Discussions about people analytics (PA) often focus on potential efficiency gains for companies: through the systematic collection and algorithmic analysis of human resources data, PA promises to provide actionable recommendations that optimise strategic decisions in human resource management and increase productivity. This article examines PA from the perspective of self-determination theory and asks how PA can have a positive or negative impact on employee autonomy, competence and relatedness. Self-determination theory assumes that individuals’ motivation, and ultimately their well-being and performance, can be enhanced by meeting their basic psychological needs for autonomy, competence and relatedness. The study shows that conflicting goals can exist between management and employees. These relate to autonomy and control, competence and standardisation, as well as relatedness and efficiency. Finally, the article identifies practical approaches based on the three overarching principles of transparency, training and participation that can support the implementation of PA in favour of self-determination. more … (in German)

WSI-Mitteilungen 1/2024, pp. 26-33

Tanja Carstensen, Kathrin Ganz

Artificial Intelligence and Gender – a Question of (Counter) Power at Work?


Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming increasingly relevant in the world of work. What is particularly striking is the intensive discourse on AI being conducted in the media, politics and science, in which in some cases far-reaching expectations are being formulated. A fixed topic in these discourses about the relevance of AI for the future of work is also the question of the extent to which gender inequalities will change. This article explores the implications of AI for gendered power relations in workplace contexts. Based on empirical results from the project “Gender, Artificial Intelligence and the Work of the Future”, five topics are discussed to address the extent to which changes in power inequalities can be identified in the context of the dissemination of and discussion about AI, which from a gender perspective can be starting points for workplace counter-power: 1. ideal worker norms in transition, 2. discrimination by AI systems, 3. AI development as the domain of white young men as a dead end ; 4. unpaid and invisible work and 5. the effects of automation on intra-company power relations. more … (in German)

WSI-Mitteilungen 1/2024, pp. 34-41

Tobias Kämpf, Thomas Lühr

White-collar Workers and Co-determination in the Digital Transformation. On the Change of Labour Relations in the Office


This article analyses the challenges and opportunities of workplace co-determination in the white-collar sector against the background of the digital transformation. The starting point is the observation that labour relations in the office are still shaped by the individual interests of employees and the resulting actions, which makes it difficult terrain for co-determination. At the same time, the digital transformation marks a fundamental upheaval in white-collar work, which creates a new constellation of action for works councils. Against this background, the actions of works councils are empirically analysed in the course of current strategic trends: the agile organisation of white-collar work, its increasing shift to the information space (working from home) and the change in office work through the use of artificial intelligence. The results reveal starting points for a new interplay of individual and collective interest-based action, which are of particular importance for labour policy in the debate on the future of co-determination in the digital transformation. more … (in German)

WSI-Mitteilungen 1/2024, pp. 42-49

Nele Dittmar

Collective Bargaining on Digitalisation – Shaping Power Relations in the World of Work


This article draws on the power resources approach to analyse how power relations in the world of work change with digitalisation and how these changes can be shaped by industrial relations actors. The author presents collective agreements at sectoral level dealing with digitalisation, while research on digitalisation and industrial relations has so far focused on the workplace level and the evolving platform economy. It can be shown that collective agreements on digitalisation can maintain or create power resources for labour. Furthermore, the article proposes a field theoretical perspective on industrial relations to better understand the differences between sectors regarding collective bargaining on digitalisation, due to sector-specific power relations and collective bargaining practices. more … (in German)

WSI-Mitteilungen 1/2024, pp. 50-57

Philipp Frey, Felix Gnisa, Linda Nierling

Democratising Technology in the Workplace. Visionary Impulses from Cooperatives and Industrial Conversion Movements for the Digital Change


The article offers insights into how technological innovation in the workplace might be shaped in the interests of employees. It does so by reconstructing two scenarios of democratised technology design in the workplace. The historical case of Lucas Aerospace and the current labour conflict at GKN Florence are used to illustrate that a conflictual appropriation of innovation competences by the workforce can enable it to draft alternative business plans and challenge established company governance structures. Using the Basque industrial cooperative Mondragón MCC and the platform cooperative CoopCycle as examples, the potential of democratic corporate governance for progressive labour politics and technological design in the workplace is outlined. Both scenarios provide indications of how the digital transformation can be shaped autonomously by employees and institutions of co-determination. The article concludes with an appeal for a twofold transformation of innovation in the workplace, which can help to both successfully shape the digital transformation and to democratise corporate governance. more … (in German)

WSI-Mitteilungen 1/2024, pp. 58-62

Falko Blumenthal

Establishment of a Digital Works Council


Taking the perspective of union support of establishment processes of a works council, this article traces the process and its new configuration in digital companies. Digital companies are characterised by place- and time-flexible work with a high proportion of purely digital communications in the company. The article discusses the technical as well as the cultural dimension of digital technology. The transformation of the legal process of establishing a works council in the two-stage electoral procedure as well as that of the non-formal education and mobilisation process in both the founding team and the workforce is shown in selected highlights and described in the conclusion as an ongoing challenge. more … (in German)

WSI-Mitteilungen 1/2024, pp. 63-65

Julia Kloiber

The Cleaners of the Digital Platforms. Social Media Content Moderators are Resisting Psychological Stress, Poor Pay, and Exploitation


The working conditions under which social media platforms are kept free from illegal and violent content are unknown to most people. The employee is a “content moderator”, a role in which thousands of people worldwide sit in front of screens to remove harmful videos, photos, and texts from platforms. For the majority of these workers the job does not leave them unaffected. Many develop mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In addition to the psychological strain, content moderators are burdened by high time pressure and poor pay. Most of them are not employed by the large, wealthy tech corporations but by subcontractors. Since the beginning of 2023, there has been a stirring of resistance from the content moderators, as they begin to organise and collectively stand up for their rights. more … (in German)

WSI-Mitteilungen 1/2024, pp. 66-68

Johanna Wenckebach

Recording Working Time as a Power Issue of Digitalisation


Employers have a duty to protect the health of their employees and this includes recording their working time for the purpose of complying with its limits. This is required by law and this duty of employers has been confirmed in landmark rulings by the Federal Labour Court and the European Court of Justice. As a result, the need for political reform is being discussed in Germany and it is becoming apparent that the recording of working time is one of the power issues of digitalisation. However, a legal regulation, which is currently being discussed in legal policy, must not under any circumstances lead to a reduction in labour protection, as is being called for under the heading “flexibilisation of working time”, particularly with reference to digitalisation. Especially in a digitalised world of work, the removal of limits cannot be seen as progress and does not serve, for example, to improve the compatibility of care work and gainful employment. Time recording is an important instrument to prevent people from literally having to work non-stop, possibly even without adequate payment. more … (in German)