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The Cinderella Story: Employees Reaching For New Agency In The Digital Era

Eveliina Saari, Sari Käpykangas, Mervi Hasu
Published 2019 · Business

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The chapter analyzes how backstage service employees may rise from invisibility to active agency when they are at risk of losing their jobs during the digitalization of services. We conducted an intervention process aimed at envisioning future digital services and new work. The analysis is based on employee interviews regarding their future work horizons, interviews of management and HRD, and two workshops organized to support the co-creation of future service and work. The approach derives from the literature on human agency. Invisible backstage service workers may face a similar developmental pattern to that of “Cinderella” when finding their way in the digital era. The interviews of the managers and HRD indicate how difficult it is to foresee and develop the future competencies of employees, before deciding upon the path on how to organize the service between human beings and technology. The study contributes to the understanding of backstage service employee’s perspectives and makes visible their attempts to have an agency in technological transition, which previous studies have rarely analyzed in depth.
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