Future of Work and Employee Empowerment: Evidence from a Decade of Technological Change
25 Pages Posted: 5 Feb 2020 Last revised: 17 Aug 2020
Date Written: January 12, 2020
Increasing evidence suggests that technological change will have significant effects on interactions in the workplace, particularly with the surge of remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic. Even if technological change displaces some jobs, it may have positive effects among the employees’ who remain employed and subsequent new hires. To understand the potential effects on employees, we introduce a new measure of technological change at the county-level using the growth in the stock of intellectual property (IP) across industries. Second, using new individual-level data between 2008 and 2018 from Gallup’s U.S Daily Poll, we investigate the quantitative effects of technological change on employee empowerment and well-being. Our results suggest that technological change is associated with robust positive effects on employees’ sense of empowerment and life satisfaction. While we find the effect is strongest in workplaces with trust, we find that managers who behave more as a boss help workers buffer against technological change, suggesting that structured managerial practices may be most effective for mediating the emergence of AI and automation.
Keywords: Employee Attitudes; Employee Engagement; Technological Change; Well-being
JEL Classification: J23; J24; G41; I31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation