Working ‘with’ or ‘against’ the machine?

Project: Research direct

Project Details


The introduction of advanced robotics in logistics significantly affects quality of work and workers’ competence profiles. The fear that robotization will strip all motivating aspects from jobs is widespread and may lead to worker resistance. Successfully addressing these ‘human’ issues requires an interdisciplinary approach. This project aims to answer the question of how robotization in logistic warehouses can be utilized and developed in a way that does not conflict with workers’ sense of meaning in work and general well being. We hypothesize that this is best achieved when workers retain a sense of ‘ownership’ (i.e., control and responsibility) in their work, understand the aims of introducing robots and their functioning, and have a sense of working ‘with’ instead of ‘under’ or ‘against’, robots.

We will combine analysis of leading theoretical frameworks on meaningfulness and well-being from ethics and psychology with empirical data collection (i.e., job analyses, interviews and questionnaires) among employees in robotized warehouses from three different organizations. The project aims at delivering a theoretical framework of key social/human factors that have to be taken into account in the implementation and operation of robotics in warehouses, and a practical roadmap to chart and monitor these factors. Both will be presented and explained to the organizations participating in our research through an interactive seminar.

Layman's description

Optimizing human-robot collaboration in logistic warehouses
Effective start/end date1/04/1831/01/21


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