Workplace automation: why some employees aren’t more afraid of losing their jobs…

In their article “Anxiety buffers and the threat of extreme automation: a terror management theory perspective”, Professors Frank Goethals and Jennifer Ziegelmayer studied how employees react to a potential or perceived threat of losing their jobs to new technologies such as artificial intelligence or robots.

Interviews were conducted with employees across a range of companies, sectors, and job functions who perceived a potential threat in terms of workplace automation. “Interestingly, we found that employees generally seemed to think, regardless of their role, that other roles were more at risk, or they themselves were less at risk than other people in the same role”, explains Professor Goethals.

Employees appear to engage in psychological reassurance mechanisms to protect themselves and minimize anxiety created by the potential of losing their job.

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