Yesterday's workers in Tomorrow's world

Nirit Toshav-Eichner, Liad Bareket-Bojmel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Purpose: This study sought to examine the attitudes of blue-collar workers toward job automation. The study examined the relations between job automation, fear of job loss and self-actualization. Design/methodology/approach: Using mixed methods (qualitative and quantitative analysis) with 539 participants overall, we examined employees' attitudes toward job automation through two separate studies conducted in a large public organization that employs blue-, white- and pink-collar employees. The blue-collar workers who participated consisted of waste collectors, gardeners and parking supervisors whose work is at risk of job automation. Findings: We found that 74% of the blue-collar employees described technology as a “replacer” that simplifies and reduces human work activities, while only 3% perceived it as an “enabler” that could enrich their jobs and expand human potential. Fifty-three percent of the employees in the white-collar professions described technology as a “replacer,” and 36% perceived it as an “enabler.” Among pink-collar workers, 51% perceived technology as an “enabler,” while only 14% perceived it as a “replacer.” A positive relationship between job automation and self-actualization was evident for pink- and white-collar workers, but not for blue-collar workers. Originality/value: This study sheds light on how employees in different types of jobs perceive technological advancements at work. A classification of the perception of technology as an “enabler” vs a “replacer” is presented. The relationships between job automation and self-actualization in different job types are explored.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1553-1569
Number of pages17
JournalPersonnel Review
Issue number5
StatePublished - 30 May 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited.


  • Blue-collar
  • Computerization
  • Fear of job loss
  • Job automation
  • Self-actualization
  • Technological unemployment


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