The aim of this chapter is to identify the prevalent trend in control and surveillance in industry since 1990 to present, focusing in particular on the differences between highly digitalized and traditional workers. The authors elaborate three ideal-types of management control, namely Controlled Autonomy, New Tayloristic Control, and Panopticon Control. Then, they analyze data from the 1991–2015 European Working Conditions Surveys. The findings show a growing trend toward forms of control approaching the ideal-type of Controlled Autonomy, particularly among digital workers. Highly digitalized industrial work practices offer greater opportunities for workers to develop new skills and exercise their autonomy. Such an autonomy, however, has an individual rather than a collective character, does not concern strategic organizational objectives and goes along with work intensification. At least in the countries, sector and period considered in the analysis, it seems that digital workers are not able to get out of a growing loneliness, to raise the level of social conflict and to oppose real autonomy to management. The study contributes to the stream of critical research on new post-fordist work practices, which today gains new momentum thanks to the digital transformation of work.
Does Control Change Nature in Industrial Digital Work? A Secondary Analysis of the 1991–2015 European Working Conditions Surveys / Albano, Roberto; Curzi, Ylenia; Parisi, Tania. - (2021), pp. 81-116. [10.1007/978-3-030-75532-4_6]