The increasing use of semi-automated technologies in service work has implications for employee’s conceptions of their own abilities, and their processes of identification at work. Drawing on theorizing from the identity literature, we examine how employees come to think about their own abilities in relation to and in comparison to machinic norms, creating unattainable expectations of an “ideal worker”. Through a qualitative case study of the introduction of a semi-automated system in a supermarket service setting, we examine cashiers’ sense of devaluation on the basis of their humanness, which comes to be seen as of a less-abled nature in relation to the automated system. We show how cashier perceptions of customers’ changing interaction norms contribute to this sense of identity void, as traditional encounters of care or mutual regard are replaced by automated processes. We discuss the implications for Human Resource Management, laying out a future research agenda around identity processes and human-technology interaction.
|Number of pages||34|
|Journal||International Journal of Human Resource Management|
|Early online date||27 Apr 2022|
|Publication status||Published - 27 Apr 2022|
Dr. Kamila Moulai¨ is a Marie Curie Fellow funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme under the Marie Skłodowska Curie Grant Agreement number: 101026027. The first author would like to thank Prof. Mariano Pitosh Heyden (Monash University, Australia) and Prof Koen Van Laer (Hasselt University, Belgium) for their precious feedback on earlier versions of the manuscript.