Future Work and Enterprise Systems

Jan vom Brocke, Wolfgang Maaß, Peter Buxmann, Alexander Maedche, Jan Marco Leimeister, Günter Pecht

In: Business & Information Systems Engineering (BISE) Pages 1-9 Springer 2018.


From its earliest days, research in business and information systems engineering (BISE) has been dedicated to envisioning how information technology will change the way we work and live. Today, technological innovation happens at a faster pace and reaches users more quickly than ever before. For example, while it took 75 years for the telephone to reach 100 million users, it was 16 years for mobile phones, 7 years for the World Wide Web, four and a half years for Facebook (Dreischmeier et al. 2015), and only a few weeks for Poke´mon GO (Moon 2016). The rapid acceleration of technological diffusion confronts BISE researchers, who usually study technological innovations from the perspective of socio-technical systems (Bostrom and Heinen 1977). Work systems are conceptualized as an interplay of tasks, technologies, and people (vom Brocke and Rosemann 2014), systems ‘‘in which human participants and/or machines perform work (processes and activities) using information, technology, and other resources to produce specific products/services for specific internal and/or external customers’’ (Alter 2013, p. 75). Against this background, much of the current discourse about future work systems addresses automation, as work is increasingly performed by machines. For example, blockchain and smart contracts can automate large parts of the supply chain (Mendling et al. 2018), and machine learning now facilitates automation in business areas that were once too unstructured for automation (Willcocks et al. 2015). In such settings, people are likely to contribute to work systems by means of creative work and exploration (as opposed to exploitation), a distinction that O’Reilly and Tushman (2013) referred to as organizational ambidexterity. Therefore, from the perspective of BISE research, the future of work poses questions about the interplay of people and machines, as Lehrer et al. (2018) outlined in their work on digital service innovation. In this discussion, we differentiate between the social intensity and the technical intensity of work and define four basic types of work systems, as shown in Fig. 1.

Weitere Links

Future_Work_and_Enterprise_Systems.pdf (pdf, 413 KB )

German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence
Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz