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2018/2019  KAN-CBUSV1703U  Digital Work in the 21st Century (B )

English Title
Digital Work in the 21st Century (B )

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Semester
Start time of the course Autumn
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Study board
BUS Study Board for BSc/MSc in Business Administration and Information Systems, MSc
Course coordinator
  • Mari-Klara Stein - Department of Digitalisation
Main academic disciplines
  • Human resource management
  • Information technology
  • Organization
Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face teaching
Last updated on 19-02-2018

Relevant links

Learning objectives
  • Describe and explain in detail the different elements of digital work, as discussed during the course
  • Based on a given case, identify, critically evaluate, and convincingly argue for the best combination of elements (technology, workforce, new ways of working, leadership) to design and develop a specific type of digital work arrangement
  • Reflect on the opportunities and threats that the proposed type of digital work arrangement may create and consider corresponding policy implications
  • Reflect and evaluate whether (and how) the proposed digital work arrangement enables broader digital business transformation (e.g., innovation, competitiveness)
Digital Work in the 21st Century:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual exam
Size of written product Max. 10 pages
Assignment type Case based assignment
Duration 7 days to prepare
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Winter
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
The students will receive the same exam assignment, but a new given case (different from original exam case).
Description of the exam procedure

The students will receive a given case that sets the scope for the exam assignment. The students will draft a plan for working with the case and receive feedback on their plan. The students will present their work-in-progress on the exam assignment towards the end of the course and receive further feedback. 

Course content and structure

This course is meant for students interested in understanding, designing, and managing digital work – with new forms of collaboration, engagement, and innovation to satisfy a digitally savvy workforce, thereby accelerating productivity and agility, as well as facilitating the broader digital transformation of business. The course will largely focus on information workers (‘white-collar’, creative and service jobs), but in the context of broader shifts in labour. Within the emphasis on information workers, we explore four inter-related elements of digital work: (1) Technologies of the digital work; (2) The digital workforce; (3) New ways of working and leadership; and (4) Work(place) transformation as an enabler of digital business. The technological environment that enables information sharing, collaboration, and communication is at the heart of digital work. The workforce is the second critical element of digital work. We will look at what makes the digitally savvy workforce tick and how the workforce of the future is changing with automation and algorithms. The third element of digital work is the various novel work practices. We will look at new ways of working and leadership that boost work-life flexibility, worker agility, and engagement. The fourth, and final, element we touch upon in this course relates to digital work as an enabler of broader, strategic digital transformations (e.g., in business models). Without internal agility, and an engaged workforce, externally-oriented digital transformations will be difficult to achieve. Throughout the course, we will also critically reflect on the observed trends in digital work and consider policy implications to mitigate potential negative consequences. For example, we will reflect on how digital work can be designed to best serve the basic human needs for autonomy, competence and belonging that ensure decent work as defined by the United Nations. We will also reflect on different options to protect new types of digital workers, such as crowdworkers, as well as the increasing need for organizational policy around privacy protection and workplace surveillance (in the guise of big data and analytics). 

Description of the teaching methods
This course includes presentations of core topics by the instructor and guest speakers, as well as group work and workshops during which students evaluate relevant insights that could be useful for decisions about digital work in organizations. During lectures and workshops, students will learn to identify and assess the necessary technical capabilities of organizations and individuals to do digital work; identify and assess the different types of workforce in digital work; identify and assess best-fitting new ways of working and leadership styles, given a certain technological and physical environment and workforce characteristics; as well as identify and assess opportunities for broader digital business transformations enabled by digital work. The students will also be required to critically reflect on the on-going shifts in technology, workforce, leadership and ways of working to identify and assess practical policy implications for organizations and society. The workshops will consist of different online and offline assignments around these elements and will help prepare the students for the exam.
Feedback during the teaching period
Students will draft a plan for working with the exam case and receive feedback on their plan.
Students will have the opportunity to present their in-progress exam assignment and receive feedback.
Student workload
Lectures 20 hours
Workshops 18 hours
Preparation for lectures 60 hours
Preparation for workshops 20 hours
Exam 60 hours
Preparation for exam 30 hours
Expected literature

Various academic peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on the topic of digital work. For example:


Fuchs, C. (2014). Theorising and analysing digital labour: From global value chains to modes of production. The Political Economy of Communication1(2).


Hoeven, C. L., & Zoonen, W. (2015). Flexible work designs and employee well‐being: examining the effects of resources and demands. New Technology, Work and Employment30(3), 237-255.


Chamorro-Premuzic, T., Winsborough, D., Sherman, R. A., & Hogan, R. (2016). New Talent Signals: Shiny New Objects or a Brave New World?. Industrial and Organizational Psychology9(3), 621-640.


Dery, K., Sebastian, I. M., & van der Meulen, N. (2017). The Digital Workplace is Key to Digital Innovation. MIS Quarterly Executive16(2).


Christopherson, S. (2004). The divergent worlds of new media: how policy shapes work in the creative economy. Review of policy research21(4), 543-558.



Please note that the specific articles are subject to change. 

Last updated on 19-02-2018