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Digitally Mediated Power in the Workplace SSS18

  • School: School of Social Sciences
  • Study mode(s): Full-time / Part-time
  • Starting: 2022
  • Funding: UK student / EU student (non-UK) / International student (non-EU) / Fully-funded


NTU's Fully-funded PhD Studentship Scheme 2022

Project ID: SSS18

This project will conduct empirical research concerning the role of digital technologies mediating power relations within the workplace in a sector of the applicant’s choice. The doctoral candidate will be supported in achieving this ambition through the supervision team’s expertise and relationships with key stakeholders, and will be encouraged to develop their own networks. Where an applicant already has working relationships with relevant trade unions, managers or workers, this should be specified in the proposal and will be viewed favourably.

Today, digital technologies are contributing to radical transformations in power and voice at work, reflected in shifting arrangements and contestations of time and space, as part of what has been called ‘the fourth industrial revolution’ or ‘Industry 4.0’ (Schwab 2016; Ales et al 2018). Within these transformations, labour continues to play a crucial role. Indeed, digital technologies are being used by managers, workers and trade unions for communication, monitoring, control, algorithmic management, training, and support, all of which affect the dynamic activity of labour. Emerging literature points to the scale of the resulting challenges and the need for further research (Carneiro and Costa 2020; Manokha 2020; Miele and Tirabeni 2020).

The application of digital technologies in the workplace appears quite diverse. For example, on the one hand digital technologies appear to represent a modernization of Taylorism,  using technology to increase the pace of work, standardize tasks, and achieve greater managerial control; on the other hand, ‘Industry 4.0’ can also be seen as creating a new form of employee, one entrusted by managers with greater autonomy. Digital technologies have also been used by workers and their representatives to contest working conditions. Such diversity in the application and outcomes of digital technologies calls for in-depth empirical investigation. Applicants will be expected to formulate a research question that will lead to significant new insights concerning these issues within a specific sector and to develop an appropriate research design to answer this question.

The successful applicant will receive expert supervision from an experienced team with a strong track record of research funding and publications. This project will contribute to an emerging inter-disciplinary focus on work and employment at NTU. The successful applicant will become a member of the Work Futures Research Group, where they will receive additional specialist support in writing, publishing, public engagement and research impact from the very beginning of the project, and they will join a highly engaged postgraduate community.

School strategic research priority

This project aligns to Promoting Social and Democratic Inclusion and Transformation.

Entry qualifications

For the eligibility criteria, visit our studentship application page.

How to apply

For guidance and to make an application, please visit our studentship application page. The application deadline is Friday 14 January 2022.

Fees and funding

This is part of NTU's 2022 fully-funded PhD Studentship Scheme.

Guidance and support

Download our full applicant guidance notes for more information.

Still need help?

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