Special Issue Editors: Tara Behrend and Mindy Shoss
Economic inequality is rising. For the first time in a century, children in the United States will not, on average, expect to do better than their parents. Technological changes have been identified as both exacerbating inequality and presenting potential solutions. There is an urgent need to understand the effects of technology on inequality from a psychological perspective. This Special Issue of Technology, Mind, and Behavior calls for papers that use a psychological lens to demonstrate how technology can contribute to or alleviate inequality in the context of work and employment. Psychological research can inform the development, use, and regulation of work-related technologies to ensure a more just and equitable workplace.
Technological development has been a catalyst for many recent and forecasted changes in work, including whether work itself will continue to exist (Frey & Osborne, 2013). Some suggest that rapid technological innovation will widen inequality. Examples include platform-based employment that lacks the protections of traditional employer-based employment; automation leading to large-scale job loss and concentrating wealth to the owners of capital; algorithms that accentuate discrimination; and unequal opportunities due to unequal access to technology (Autor & Dorn, 2013; DiMaggio, Hargittal, Celeste, & Shafer, 2004; Frey & Osborne, 2013; Lee, Resnick, & Barton, 2019; Meda, 2019).
At the same time, technology has been viewed as a tool that can reduce inequalities. Examples include enhancing marketplace access (e.g., Etsy for self-employed artisans); facilitating flexible work schedules and locations; reducing information asymmetries and transaction costs; creating jobs; and making work safer by using technology for dangerous tasks (Acemoglu & Restrepo, 2019; Johnson et al., 2020; White, Behrend, & Sideritis, 2020; World Economic Forum, 2018). Arguing against technological determinism, many commentators have argued that technology’s impacts will be shaped by the nature of the technology itself but also how it is developed and incorporated into work, highlighting the need for a psychological perspective. Examples of foci are new forms of work made possible by technology, individual and collective adaptation to changing technologies, and regulation of work-related technology-induced changes (De Stefano, 2019; Meda, 2019; White et al., 2020).
With these issues in mind, the goal of this special issue is to:
Highlight multidisciplinary and diverse approaches to understanding and addressing technology, inequality, and work
Explore new forms of work made possible by technology and their implications for inequality
Generate policy-relevant insights
We conceptualize technology, work, and inequality quite broadly here to be inclusive to a wide variety of issues that fall under these umbrellas. To illustrate, inequality could be reflected in access to work, access to the benefits of work, and work organization and reorganization (Meda, 2019). Work might be conceptualized as either traditional employment or alternative forms of work, both paid and unpaid.
Authors who would like to contribute a paper to the special issue should submit a 2-page proposal that describes how the proposed paper aligns with the special issue theme, details the methods and planned analyses, specifies the timeline for completion, and provides full contact information for the corresponding author. Proposals will be evaluated for rigor and fit with the special issue. Submissions should be empirical in nature; any methodological approach will be considered as long as it is properly aligned with the research question. Note that statistically significant results are not required for a successful manuscript.
Proposals will be reviewed by the editors, who will invite authors of selected proposals to submit full manuscripts for the special issue. Full manuscripts are due by the deadline indicated below. Authors should indicate in the cover letter accompanying this submission that this is for the special issue “Technology, Work, and Inequality”. An invitation to submit a full manuscript does not constitute guarantee of publication. Accepted manuscripts will be published on a rolling basis for the online special issue.
Technology, Mind, and Behavior is a fully online and open-access journal published by the nonprofit American Psychological Association. Author publication fees are waived for articles accepted to this special issue. The journal is dedicated to publishing work that is interdisciplinary and focuses on the intersection of technology and human behavior, broadly defined. The journal is committed to open-access as a means of supporting the widespread dissemination of knowledge.
Note that if authors are unclear as to whether their proposal would fit within the scope of the special issue Inequality Special Issue Inquiry, they are encouraged to email Danielle McNamara at: email@example.com, using the subject line, “Inequality Special Issue Inquiry”.
March 1, 2021 Deadline submission of proposal
April 15, 2021 Editors invite full submissions
September 1, 2021 Full submissions deadline
Acemoglu, D., & Restrepo, P. (2019). Automation and new tasks: how technology displaces and reinstates labor. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 33(2), 3-30.
De Stefano, V. (2019). Introduction: Automation, Artificial Intelligence, and Labour Protection. Comparative Labor Law & Policy Journal, Vol. 41.
DiMaggio, P., Hargittai, E., Celeste, C., & Shafer, S. (2004). From unequal access to differentiated use: A literature review and agenda for research on digital inequality. Social inequality, 1, 355-400.
Collins, C., Earl, J., Parker, S., & Wood, R. (2020). Looking back and looking ahead: Applying organisational behaviour to explain the changing face of work. Australian Journal of Management, 45(3), 369–375. https://doi.org/10.1177/0312896220934857
Frey, C.B. & Osborne, M.A. (2013). The future of employment: How susceptible are jobs to computerisation? Working paper, Oxford Martin Programme on Technology and Employment. Oxford, University of Oxford.
Johnson, A., Dey, S., Nguyen, H., Groth, M., Joyce, S., Tan, L., Glozier, N., & Harvey, S. B. (2020). A review and agenda for examining how technology-driven changes at work will impact workplace mental health and employee well-being. Australian Journal of Management, 45(3), 402–424. https://doi.org/10.1177/0312896220922292
Meda, D. (2019). Three scenarios for the future of work. International Labour Review, 158(4), 627–652. https://doi.org/10.1111/ilr.12157
Lee, N. T., Resnick, P., & Barton, G. (2019). Algorithmic bias detection and mitigation: Best practices and policies to reduce consumer harms.
White, J., Behrend, T., & Sideritis, I. (2020). Changes in technology. In B. Hoffman, M. Shoss, & L. Wegman (Eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of the Changing Nature of Work (pp. 69-100). New York, NY: Cambridge.
World Economic Forum. (2018, December). The future of jobs report 2018. Geneva: World Economic Forum.