Call for Papers: JCMC Special Issue on Technology and the Future of Work!

Nancy Baym and SMC alum Ifeoma Ajunwa are guest editing a special issue of the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication! They welcome submissions from the extended SMC network. See the call for papers below:

JCMC Special Issue: Technology and the Future of Work

Guest Editors:
Nancy Baym, Microsoft Research 

Ifeoma Ajunwa, University of North Carolina

Nicole Ellison, University of Michigan

Submission Deadline: March 1, 2022

Submission Site for abstracts: https://forms.gle/xbdVsYj7fSDwxPQ4A 

The Covid-19 pandemic radically altered the landscape of how and where work is done. People are working from home, from remote locations, and mixing time in and out of centralized workplaces more than ever before. Front line and other workers whose fields demand their corporeal presence are under new pressures, some of which implicate the tools of their trades. Work processes, organizational forms, and standards for what constitutes “good” work are evolving rapidly, as are threats to autonomy and privacy. 

The technologies at the center of these changes make work across time and space possible, while shaping the individual, relational, organizational, and societal outcomes of new work in ways both anticipated and unforeseen. In some cases, changes in co-location and communication patterns amplify existing trends, as with moves towards the gig economy, “just in time” products and services, and increasing social inequities. In others, entirely new practices have been introduced and refined, spurring new visions of work futures, as seen in creator culture, e-sports, and drop-shipping. In between, social fabrics are being rewoven as individuals and communities alike try to determine what kinds of work can be done successfully online and which require co-presence, and how they might change their practices accordingly.  

This special issue will focus specifically on the role of technology-mediated communication in shaping the future of work, seeking to illuminate these work shifts and their consequences. We seek submissions that are rooted in empirical insights and center the role of communication technologies; we are particularly interested in papers that think big and speak to how different populations are differentially impacted by and responding to these shifts, including those outside North American and European contexts. Possible topics include but are not limited to:

  • The role of Artificial Intelligence in new work arrangements and interactions
  • Virtual workspaces, online collaborative environments, and other forms of computer-supported cooperative work
  • New forms of human-machine interactions, such as customer service and health chatbots
  • Technologies of hiring, retaining, evaluating, and firing 
  • Relational and informal dimensions of work relationships
  • Worker well-being and organizational thriving
  • Surveillance and privacy 
  • Measurement, data, analytics, and autonomy
  • Blurring of domestic and work spheres
  • New forms of organizations and collaborative networks
  • Reshaping of collaboration participants and practices 

The special issue will be published in the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication (JCMC) starting in summer, 2023. JCMC is a fully open-access scholarly journal which publishes social science research on communicating using computer-based media technologies; see the recent Editor’s Note and About The Journal for more insight into the journal’s mission and scope. JCMC is broadly interdisciplinary, publishing work by scholars in communication, business, education, political science, sociology, psychology, media studies, information science, and other disciplines. 

Those interested in submitting to this special issue should submit abstracts via the form at https://forms.gle/xbdVsYj7fSDwxPQ4A by March 1, 2022. The abstract should be no more than 500 words, not including references. Abstracts should identify the work’s primary theoretical approach, research questions or hypotheses, method(s) of data collection and analysis, and preliminary or anticipated findings. Invitations to submit full papers for full peer review will be extended by March 30, 2022 for September 15, 2022 submission of papers. JCMC uses a continuous publication model, so papers will be published online as soon as they are ready, with the final publication date for the special issue anticipated to be summer, 2023.  

Final papers should not exceed 10,000 words. 

For questions, please email  futureofworkjcmc@umich.edu

Issue Cover

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