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date: 24 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter describes the analyses and results for the ESRC Economy and Organizations domain, guided by two main questions: How do we construct the digital to be open to all, sustainable, and secure? And what impacts might the automation of the future workforce bring? The chapter first provides an initial overview of the major insights from the literature review and analysis, the Delphi surveys, and workshop discussions about the relevant range of the concepts of economy and organization (initially, economy and sustainability). Four main topics emerged: digital technology uptake by both business and consumers; social and economic capital of citizens; digital skills; and economic growth and change. Analysis of a specially curated set of 1900 articles over the 2000-2016 period showed perhaps the greatest change in focus over time of all the domains. The earlier literature emphasized information as a product (involving property rights, markets, law), and some technologies. The later literature highlighted knowledge seeking, skills, communication, and uses. The analyses also identified the roles of theory (rather under-utilized but, when used, were primarily from sociology) and methods (the most common being literature reviews) in this domain. The chapter ends with a discussion of future research directions (e.g., the shaping and development of the digital economy while also fostering sustainability and participation, and impacts of digital labor on people’s life experiences) and research challenges (e.g., measuring overall impact of a digital technology on a business, and measuring new ways of working and consuming).

Keywords: automation, digital economy, digital labor, digital technology, economic growth and change, ESRC economy and organizations, ESRC Review, future workforce, sustainability

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