5 August 2019

Influence of digitisation on central government staff

Within the central government, technological innovations follow each other at a rapid pace. Under the leadership of researchers at the Future of Work Hub of Utrecht University, a large-scale study is being set up within the central government into the influence of digitisation. Judith Plomp (postdoctoral researcher) and Prof. Dr. Maria Peeters are investigating the consequences of technological innovations for the quality of work and sustainable employability for government staff.

Technological developments are moving at a rapid pace, as is the case with the central government. Over the past decade, a number of influential and global trends can be distinguished in the field of digitisation, including robotisation, big data and The Internet of Things. Within the central government, recent technological innovations may include the introduction of DigiD, the digital message box, and the online filing of income tax returns.

Although new technologies are mainly implemented within the government with the aim of improving the services and work processes offered, less attention is paid to the consequences that the introduction of a new digital system may have for the work experience and employability of employees. The course of this implementation process can have far-reaching consequences for the enthusiasm, performance and absenteeism of employees, so guaranteeing a motivating and stimulating working environment is of crucial importance. This research therefore focuses on (1) the consequences of digitisation for government employees and (2) how best to implement technological innovations.

The study
The research project started in June 2019 with a systematic literature review in which the emphasis is on the findings of scientific studies in recent years in order to arrive at a first insight into the central research questions. In addition, interviews will be held with the parties involved in so-called best practices. This concerns both employees and managers who recently had to deal with the successful implementation of a digital system. In this way, an attempt is made to answer the question of how technological innovations can best be implemented, taking into account the wishes and qualities of employees.

Autumn 2019, a quantitative questionnaire study will also be launched to gain more insight into the work and career experiences of employees within the government who have had to deal with a recent digital innovation. 

Parties involved
This research is financed and carried out on behalf of the A+O fund Rijk and is in cooperation with Marianne Wendt (NCF Vakbond), the Tax and Customs Administration, and the Ministry of Justice and Security. The research is carried out by Judith Plomp and Maria Peeters from the Department of Social, Health & Organizational Psychology (SHOP), which focuses on themes such as work-related motivation, performance, and well-being.