Postdoc position on Workers-Robot-Relations: Exploring Ownership through the lens of Design Justice and Organizational Psych...

Postdoc position on Workers-Robot-Relations: Exploring Ownership through the lens of Design Justice and Organizational Psych...

Published Deadline Location
24 May 7 Jun Enschede

You cannot apply for this job anymore (deadline was 7 Jun 2024).

Browse the current job offers or choose an item in the top navigation above.

Job description

Emerging worker-robot relations (WRRs) have various configurations (i.e., single worker, worker-client relation, or a team of workers), and are established within environments with complex sets of protocols with varying levels of autonomy (or not), and where power dynamics are at play. While WRRs promise new opportunities for innovation, cost reduction, and productivity, the actual impact of cognitive robots on work, workers, and management is yet to be unveiled. Workers may have diverse perceptions of how and whether WRRs are a positive development for them or not. Additionally, workers and unions may want to explore alternative scenarios where robots are not means of production imposed on workers but belong and act in solidarity with workers.

In line with principles of Industry 5.0 (planetary, societal, and workers’ well-being and social justice as central to work), there is an opportunity for technology design to re-configure power dynamics and improve job quality and retention, while providing meaningful and equitable work experiences for workers.

In this post-doctoral research project, our aim is to explore, understand, and reframe WRRs and workers-robot ownership of labor and the robot itself within the context of the cleaning industry.

We are going to hone-in data, robots, workers’ ownership of the workflow through analyzing narratives, imaginaries, and worldviews to unveil alternative configurations of ownership, agency, and solidarity.

Methodologically, our approach will be guided by design justice and organizational psychology. Research activities include:
  1. Conducting a literature review;
  2. Co-ethnography with workers, robots, unions, and legal scholars (including interviews field observations, and speculative enactments);
  3. Speculative Co-creation sessions to understand values, narratives, imaginaries, agency and ownership configurations of robots and WRRs relations thereof;
  4. Co-creation sessions to tangibly explore new ownership configurations and offer tools and strategies to workers and unions;

Our goal is to produce an actionable solidarity toolbox for long-term use, fostering awareness, understanding, and (worker) emancipation on how the robot operates, plus guiding new configurations of robot ownership. This will include a set of conditions for employers and employees if they will start working with automation/robotics.

Start date: 1st of October 2024


University of Twente (UT)


  • PhD degree in Design, Human-Computer Interaction, Human-Robot Interaction, Industrial Design or a related field;
  • An interest in the future of work and organizational psychology, familiarity with robotics, and an interest in transdisciplinary field research
  • Proficiency in qualitative research methods (i.e., ethnography, field observation and interviews);
  • Excellent communication and collaboration skills with a diversity of stakeholders;
  • Experience with participatory design, speculative design, design activism, and/or action research is desirable;
  • A commitment to social justice and building a future in which technology enriches workers’ job meaningfulness and ownership;
  • Ability to communicate with Dutch stakeholders;
  • Excellent scientific writing skills are a plus.

Conditions of employment

  • We offer a fulltime position for 9 months within a very stimulating scientific environment.
  • Your salary and associated conditions are in accordance with the collective labour agreement for Dutch universities (CAO-NU);
  • Gross salary between € 3.877,- and € 5.090,- per month depending on experience and qualifications;
  • Excellent benefits including a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary, a year-end bonus of 8.3% and a solid pension scheme;
  • Free access to sports facilities on campus
  • A minimum of 232 leave hours in case of full-time employment based on a formal workweek of 38 hours. A full-time employment in practice means 40 hours a week, therefore resulting in 96 extra leave hours on an annual basis.
  • Excellent support for research and facilities for professional and personal development.
  • We encourage a high degree of responsibility and independence, while collaborating with close colleagues, researchers and other university staff.
  • We are also a family-friendly institution that offers parental leave (both paid and unpaid) and career support for partners.


  • Postdoc
  • Engineering
  • max. 40 hours per week
  • €3877—€5070 per month
  • Doctorate
  • 1801


University of Twente (UT)

Learn more about this employer


Drienerlolaan 5, 7522NB, Enschede

View on Google Maps

Interesting for you