Events

Call for papers "The Future of Work: Challenges and Opportunities in a Disrupted World"

23-05-2024

MSM issues a Call for Papers to address the rapidly changing world of work, driven by technological advancements, such as digitalisation, robotisation and AI, in a context of climate change – and globalisation, demographic shifts, and -increasingly – geopolitical tensions and disruptions. These disruptive developments are having a profound impact on workers, businesses, and societies around the world.

MSM with its Expert Centre on Emerging Economies (ECEE) is building recognition in the field of private sector development. Over the years, we organised academic conferences, produced articles and published a book on private sector development in emerging economies. Important scholars are taking notice, and donor agencies seek our input for agenda setting and policy advice. Collaborating with scholars within Maastricht University, we are establishing regional research groups focused on private sector development.

CALL FOR PAPERS
In light of these ongoing efforts, MSM issues a Call for Papers to address the rapidly changing world of work, driven by technological advancements, such as digitalisation, robotisation and AI, in a context of climate change – and globalisation, demographic shifts, and -increasingly – geopolitical tensions and disruptions. These disruptive developments are having a profound impact on workers, businesses, and societies around the world.

To discuss and address the key challenges and opportunities facing the world of work, MSM organises the conference “The Future of Work: Challenges and Opportunities in a Disrupted World”, aiming at bringing together academics, experts, practitioners, policymakers and stakeholders from a variety of disciplines. 

RESEARCH TOPICS
The conference is open to submissions on all topics related to the future of work. We are particularly interested in papers that:

  • Offer new insights into the challenges and opportunities of the future of work
  • Develop new theoretical frameworks or empirical methods for studying the future of work
  • Propose new policies or interventions to address the challenges and opportunities of the future of work

Papers can be theoretical, empirical, or policy-oriented. A non-exclusive list of topics is:

  • The impact of digitalisation and AI on the future of work
  • The impact of climate change and climate policies on the future of work
  • The impact of geopolitics on globalisation, global value chains and the global division of labor
  • The future of jobs and skills
  • The role of education and training in preparing workers for the future of work
  • The future of work in emerging markets and developing economies
  • The role and impact of demographic change and labor migration

SUBMISSION OF ABSTRACTS
We invite submissions of both full papers (approx. 7,000-8,000 words) and (extended) abstracts (500-1,500 words). Extended abstracts should provide a clear overview of the research question, methodology, findings, and implications.

All submissions must be in English and should be submitted in PDF format via this link.

Deadlines
Submission deadline: 4 March 2024
Notification of acceptance: 5 April 2024
Final paper deadline: 6 May 2024

Selected paper presentations during online conference on 23 May 2024.

Accepted papers will be published in the conference proceedings and in the MSM Working Paper Series.

We are looking forward to receiving your submissions.

In case of questions, please contact us on msm-conferences@maastrichtuniversity.nl.

Background information on the topic: The Future of Work
The theme of Future of work can be divided in four bigger developments that are correlated either to a technological, socio-economical or to demographic/globalisation drivers.

  1. The Rise of Automation and AI: Automation and artificial intelligence (AI) are transforming industries at an unprecedented pace, automating routine tasks and augmenting human capabilities. This trend is expected to continue, with AI becoming increasingly integrated into various sectors, from manufacturing to healthcare. While automation and AI may displace some jobs, they also create new opportunities for human-AI collaboration, requiring a workforce equipped with the skills to work alongside and manage intelligent machines (Jarrahi, 2018; Khogali & Mekid, 2023). Education must adapt to this reality by fostering critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity – skills that cannot be easily replicated by machines.
     
  2. The Demand for Lifelong Learning: The rapid pace of technological change and the ever-evolving nature of jobs necessitate a shift from traditional linear education pathways to lifelong learning (Lauder, 2020). Individuals will need to continuously upskill and reskill throughout their careers to adapt to new technologies, emerging industries, and changing labor market demands, accelerated through climate change (Sabrià‐Bernadó, et. al., 2017). Education must provide individuals with the tools and mind-set to embrace lifelong learning, fostering self-directed learning abilities, adaptability, and a willingness to embrace new skills and knowledge.
     
  3. The Importance of Soft Skills: In an increasingly automated and technology-driven world, soft skills such as communication, teamwork, adaptability, and emotional intelligence are becoming increasingly valuable to employers (Cleary, 2023; Poláková, et. al., 2023). These skills enable individuals to collaborate effectively, navigate complex problem-solving scenarios, and adapt to changing work environments. Education must integrate the development of these soft skills into its curricula, providing opportunities for practical application and real-world experiences.
     
  4. The Evolving Workplace: The traditional workplace is undergoing a significant transformation, with remote work, hybrid models, and gig economy arrangements becoming more prevalent (Best, 2021; Williamson, et. al., 2021; Vyas, 2022). These diverse work arrangements offer flexibility and autonomy, but they also require individuals to possess self-discipline, digital literacy, and virtual collaboration skills (van Laar, et. al., 2017). Education must prepare individuals for these diverse work environments, fostering digital literacy, remote work strategies, and the ability to thrive in independent and self-directed work settings.

    To effectively address the challenges and opportunities presented by the future of work, collaboration and partnerships between educational institutions, businesses, and community organisations are crucial. These partnerships can foster innovation, align education with industry needs, and provide learners with real-world experiences and mentorship opportunities. Previous development in industry-academia partnerships, apprenticeship programs, online learning platforms and community-based learning have appeared to be welcomed and proven to be suitable mechanisms for such a transition.

References:
Best, S. J. (2021). The future of work: Remote work in the emerging new normal. The Business & Management Review, 12(1), 285-292.

Cleary, M. (2023). An exploratory study of priority soft skills for the future of work and the implications for FET in Ireland (Doctoral dissertation, Dublin City University).

Jarrahi, M. H. (2018). Artificial intelligence and the future of work: Human-AI symbiosis in organizational decision making. Business horizons, 61(4), 577-586.

Khogali, H. O., & Mekid, S. (2023). The blended future of automation and AI: Examining some long-term societal and ethical impact features. Technology in Society, 73, 102232.

Lauder, H. (2020). The roles of higher education, further education and lifelong learning in the future economy. Journal of Education and Work, 33(7-8), 460-467.

Poláková, M., Suleimanová, J. H., Madzík, P., Copuš, L., Molnárová, I., & Polednová, J. (2023). Soft skills and their importance in the labour market under the conditions of Industry 5.0. Heliyon, 9(8).

Sabrià‐Bernadó, B., LLinàs‐Audet, X., & Isus, S. (2017). Determinants of user demand for lifelong learning in institutions of higher education. International Journal of Training and Development, 21(2), 145-166.

Van Laar, E., Van Deursen, A. J., Van Dijk, J. A., & De Haan, J. (2017). The relation between 21st-century skills and digital skills: A systematic literature review. Computers in human behavior, 72, 577-588.

Vyas, L. (2022). “New normal” at work in a post-COVID world: work–life balance and labor markets. Policy and Society, 41(1), 155-167.

Williamson, S., Pearce, A., Dickinson, H., Weeratunga, V., & Bucknall, F. (2021). Future of work literature review: Emerging trends and issues.