Digitalization is my major research focus - so it's not surprising that digitalization is the common denominator in most of my research projects.

  1. Controlling working crowds 
    (with M. Beckmann, L. Bellmann)

  2. ICT, hierarchy, and job design 
    (with M. Beckmann, M. Kräkel)

  3. Technology and performance pay in organizations

Controlling working crowds: The impact of digitalization on worker autonomy and monitoring across hierarchical levels

Co-authors: M. Beckmann and L. Bellmann
Journal of Economics and Statistics (2019), 239 (3), 441-481

On the one hand, the fast diffusion of information and communication technologies (ICT) among employees makes it possible to monitor professional activities, leading to greater centralization. On the other hand, ICT enable employees to work more autonomously, so that workplace organization becomes more decentralized. In this research project, we find that ICT promotes both centralization and decentralization tendencies. Our results support the view that unlike prior technological revolutions digitalization primarily affects the working conditions of employees in terms of monitoring and autonomy at medium and higher hierarchical levels.

Moderner Arbeitsbereich

Die Entwicklung der Arbeit in Zeiten der Digitalisierung

Co-author: M. Beckmann

Schulthess manager handbuch (2018/2019), Zürich, Basel, Genf, 209-217


Die Digitalisierung fördert den betrieblichen Einsatz moderner Arbeitsformen, wie z.B. Telearbeit und Crowdworking. Aufgrund der Digitalisierung reduzieren Betriebe vor allem ihre Nachfrage nach qualifizierten Arbeitskräften mit Routinetätigkeiten, während die Nachfrage nach Arbeitskräften, welche komplexe und hochkomplexe Tätigkeiten ausüben, zunimmt. Die Verwendung von IKT im Betrieb stärkt die Autonomie der Mitarbeiter, führt aber auch zu einer ausgeprägteren Kontrolle ihrer Arbeitsleistung. In Zeiten eines altersspezifischen demografischen Wandels hat die Digitalisierung der Arbeitswelt das Potenzial, die Beschäftigungsprobleme älterer Arbeitnehmer weiter zu verschärfen.

Verwenden des digitalen Tablets

ICT, hierarchy, and job design

Co-authors: M. Beckmann, M. Kräkel
Work in progress

In recent decades, information and communication technology (ICT) has been associated with changes in the design of jobs on a large scale. However, it remains unclear, whether these changes will lead to more centralization or more decentralization within firms. The previous literature on this debate has focused on a strict dichotomy between both possible directions. On the contrary, our theoretical and empirical analyses show that equipping employees with ICT yields both more centralized and more decentralized job-design policies. This finding is particularly pronounced for executive employees, who are granted more work autonomy but also face more control via stronger monitoring. Whereas our theoretical setting is based on a modified principal-agent model, in our empirical approach we apply parametric and semiparametric estimation models, thereby exploiting geographic variation in our instrumental variable.

Leerer Bildschirm

Technology and performance pay in organizations

Work in progress

In this paper, I draw on established theories in labor and organizational economics to explain theoretically that information and communication technologies (ICT) increase task complexity and worker interdependencies, and thus the need to adapt incentive schemes either towards individual or collective performance pay, or fixed wages. To date, there has been little literature addressing the changes in the compensation system that may result from the proliferation of modern technologies in the workplace. This paper aims to close this research gap. Using unique German panel data on management practices from the years 2014 to 2018, I apply the bracketing-property approach to show that equipping workers in lower layers with ICT increases the prevalence of collective performance pay, while there is no such effect in higher layers.

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