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Semester 1

The Future of Work (BUST10147)


Business Studies





Normal Year Taken


Delivery Session Year



Visiting students must have completed at least 4 Business courses at grade B or above. We will only consider University/College level courses.

Course Summary

This course will introduce you to contemporary changes in the world of work by interrogating how the intervention of technology has changed the meaning of work, what new forms of work and employment relations have emerged as a consequence of this intervention, and what the economic, social and ethical implications of these are.

Course Description

ACADEMIC DESCRIPTION: Over the past decade or so, there has been a resurgence of public discourse and policy debate on the 'future of work'. This conversation tends to revolve around the subject of technology. Indeed, technology is gaining increasing significance in the study and teaching of business and management. While much of this work has focused on how technology shapes and fulfils organisational, business and market imperatives, there is increasing interest in examining how workers/employees, and society at large, experience and respond to technological changes. This latter intervention aims to conceptualise the future of work more broadly by interrogating how technology has impacted the meaning of work, i.e. what counts as work/what we do for work, and employment relations on a global scale. Accordingly, this course aims to unpack the future of work beyond its technology-driven reconfigurations by engaging with the social and ethical transformations unfolding in the world of work. This is of particular importance to prevent the perpetuation of cultural blind-spots in the eager push for technological advancement. In particular, the proposed course will demonstrate how technology changes the experience and possibilities for work, and hence of life chances, along lines of social and global inequalities of race, gender, ability and class. It will thus help demonstrate the differential social and global impacts of technology in work. Overall, the course will provide tools for intelligent and meaningful engagement with technology in the context of work as well as for the critical evaluation of yourselves as social agents in the wider world. I. Framework: Theories and Concepts - 1. Introduction to the Future of Work, 2. On Cyborgs and Surrogates, 3. Contemplating the meaning of Technology, 4. Contemplating the meaning of Work. II. Contemporary Issues: A socio-ethical review - 5. The intelligence economy, 6. The surveillance economy, 7. The platform economy, 8. The affective economy. III. Conclusion - 9. Workshop, 10. Culminating conversation. STUDENT LEARNING EXPERIENCE: Pedagogy - This course will be delivered mainly through interactive lectures wherein active participation (listening and questioning) is highly encouraged. The approach to teaching undertaken in this course will not entail the mere delivery of information. Rather it follows from an of understanding of knowledge as co-created based on a critically-informed intersection of facts, experience, method. This course will model the following pedagogic view: - Knowledge is still contextual and relative, uncertain and tentative, yet it is possible to take positions, make choices, commit oneself. - The instructor is someone who is fully aware of uncertainty yet has the courage to make commitments. - Teaching is challenging and encouraging students to explore complexities fully and then to take a stand. - Students seek understanding of complexities not just as academic pursuit but also in order to create a world view, one from which they will make commitments and choices (adapted from: Learning: It is important to note that this is an honours level course. It is not intended merely to give you tools and templates of practice. Instead, it aims to help you increase the depth and breadth of your knowledge and understanding of a given subject so that you may then improve your practice. Consequently, the readings for this course are intended to challenge you to challenge the information and knowledge you possess, and your way of thinking about things. This does not, however, mean that the readings are inaccessible. It simply means that you need to give yourself the space and time to read, and to think as you read.

Assessment Information

Written Exam 0%, Coursework 75%, Practical Exam 25%

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