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

Co-authors: Michael Beckmann and Lutz Bellmann

Journal of Economics and Statistics (2019), 239 (3), 441-481

This study investigates the impact of information and communication technologies (ICT) on worker autonomy and monitoring using the second wave of the German Linked Personnel Panel, a linked employer-employee data set. From a theoretical point of view, the impact of ICT on workplace organization is ambiguous. On the one hand, the fast diffusion of 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. Based on ordinary least squares and instrumental variable estimates, we find that ICT promotes both centralization and decentralization tendencies. Furthermore, managerial employees are more affected by ICT-induced monitoring and autonomy than their non-managerial counterparts. Finally, the effect of digital ICT on employee autonomy is more pronounced than the corresponding effect on employee monitoring. Again, this does especially hold for managerial employees. All in all, our results support the view that unlike prior technological revolutions digitalization primarily affects the employment prospects and working conditions of employees at medium and higher hierarchical levels.

Die Entwicklung der Arbeit in Zeiten der Digitalisierung PDF

Co-Author: Michael Beckmann

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

Kernaussagen: 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.

Workplace organization in the digital age: Firm-level evidence from Germany

Co-Authors: Michael Beckmann and Matthias Kräkel

Work in progress

Digitalization, workplace organization and employee motivation: A mediation analysis

Co-Author: Ludivine Martin

Work in progress

Toward understanding the impact of ICT on pay for performance

WWZ Forum Research Grant

Work in progress

Crowdworking and the employment of women PDF

Co-Author: Lucas Trutwin

Work in progress


Kolloquium: Digital Transformation and Work 4.0

This course targets master students who are interested in the progress of today’s technologies and its impact on human resource management and organizational structures. This course will be replaced in Spring 2021 by the course Technology, Strategy & Organization. For more information, see Master in Business and Technology at the University of Basel.



I supervise bachelor and master students in their final thesis. This involves analyzing large data sets or solving very specific case studies. Two current examples: Crowdworking as a form of work for women and Co-Working in Basel-Stadt and Basel-Land.



This course targets bachelor students who are interested in management and organizational behavior, job satisfaction and decision making in the workplace, emotions and motivation. This course covers also new concepts of leadership. I teach this course at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland.



A great introduction in economics for bachelor students. Topics I supervise may be the mental health of students, CEO and their emotional intelligence, leadership in disruptive times, stress and burn-out.