Valuing invisible work: efficiency ambitions and digitalizaiton projects in practice
Many Danish public sector, organizations strive to become more efficient by fully orpartly automating administrative casework and developing algorithms that supportautomated decision-making. But efficiency does not follow from automation. Thereis often a gap between the promises of business cases and organizational realities.Through qualitative case studies, this research project examines the efficiencyambitions inscribed in the business cases behind automation projects, andinvestigates how the realized projects both create new tasks for managers andemployees, and redistribute work within and among organizations. We argue thatsubstantial elements of this work are unaccounted for (e.g. correction of errors,handling of new types requests, new needs for coordination, training of new skills,data production handling) in formal descriptions of the organization such asbudgets and business cases. Drawing on STS, we argue for the value of makingsuch “invisible work" visible.
Royal Holloway University of London