CIPD – Invitation to tender for research


Review of literature on the impact of technology on the world of work


The CIPD wishes to commission a literature review exploring factors influencing employers’ investment in new technology and the impact of new technology on the nature, accessibility and availability of work, workplace environment, and work outcomes (for example, wellbeing, innovation and productivity). The review is not intended for publication but will be used as a reference to inform the development of research, content and engagement with the HR community.

Literature will be sought from across a broad range of disciplines, including amongst others management, HRM, organisational psychology, information technology, engineering and futures. It could draw on grey literature in addition to academic literature (including existing evidence reviews).

Aim of the review

Ongoing waves of technological change (both unintelligent and intelligent machines) will inevitably shape the economy and the nature of work. Technological advancement is seen to support progress, for example, where it helps eliminate mistakes in completion of routine tasks, enables flexible working, and stimulates demand for cognitive and emotive skills that cannot (as yet) be fulfilled by machines (Chui et al 2016). Technology advancement is requiring more consideration of the relationship between people and machines (Schatsky and Schwartz 2015). More recently, however, commentators have expressed caution over the speed at which jobs are automated without a corresponding re-investment in higher-value work. Similarly, widening application of artificial intelligence is questioning the uniqueness of value that humans can add to some aspects of work, although the extent to which this is happening has also been questioned (Davenport and Kirby 2016).

While recognising the impact of technology specifically on productivity, the CIPD is seeking to gain a better understanding of how technology is contributing to the evolution of the nature of work and working lives more generally. The review should also consider the different types of relationships that individuals, institutions, and communities have with technology. With this review we would like to appreciate the current literature on (a) the drivers of technological change and take-up in the workplace, as well as (b) existing evidence on the impact of technology on work outcomes (including, but not limited to, quality of working life, innovation and productivity).

Review objectives and research questions

We are interested in the existing evidence in the following areas:

1.    Drivers of technological change in the workplace

       What drivers, enablers and constraints influence the adoption/rejection of technology in the workplace?

For example:

  • Instrumental/operational (cost and efficiency considerations, compatibility, health and safety, business demands, market forces)
  • attitudinal (ethical issues of data usage, consumer demand, societal acceptance of the impact of technology on work, regulation)
  • Behavioural (generational differences, organisation legacy, cyber security).

How is the prominence of these drivers expected to change in the future?

2.    Impact of technology

What is the impact of technology on:

  • the nature of work (availability, quality of jobs, working arrangements, relationship with work, organisation collaborations),
  • workplace environment (remote working),
  • access to work (inclusion and fairness),
  • workplace ethics (data security, duty of care)?

What is the specific impact of intelligent technology (AI)?

What is the known impact of technology on work outcomes:

  • people/working lives (including quality of working life and future generations)
  • organisations (e.g. innovation, productivity)
  • communities and society?

3.    Organisation and individual factors affecting the impact of technology at work

What contextual factors (both individual characteristics and organisation circumstances) have been found to influence the impact of technology on outcomes such as quality of working life, innovation and productivity (among other work outcomes). For example, what are the effects of culture, leadership style and management approaches?

4.    Relationship with technology

What are the different roles of people in a technology-enabled world of work? For example, designing and servicing machines, consuming the benefits of technological change, complementing technology with knowledge-based work, etc. What is the impact of technology on professions? Which professions (or skills within a profession) become obsolete, and which ones are created/emerging/becoming more valuable? E.g. medical, legal, teaching; software engineers, IT security.

Which organisational practices and/or policy initiatives are available to regulate the relationship between people and technology in the workplace in the UK?

  • Human capital management and development strategies at the organisational and national level;
  • Business operating models;
  • HR policies and practices
  • Practice standards.


Chui, M., Manyika, J. and Miremadi, M. (2016) Where machines could replace humans – and where they can’t (as yet). McKinsey Quarterly.
Available at: [Accessed 25 July 2016].

Davenport, T and Kirby J (2016) Just how smart are smart machines? MIT Sloan Management Review, 57(3), 20-25.

Schatsky, D. and Schwartz, J. (2015) Machines as talent: Collaboration, not competition. Deloitte University Press [online].
Available at: [Accessed 27 July 2016].

Outputs and timing

Delivery of a technical report of 10-15,000 words, including an introduction, summary and synthesis of the literature, and recommendations for further research.

The draft report will be expected by the end of November 2016. We will review and give feedback within two weeks and the final report should be completed by Friday 6 January 2017.

Copyright in the report is to be assigned to the CIPD.

The report should:

  • be written in an accessible style for the target audience – CIPD generalist researchers as well as  HR and management strategists.
  • be engaging and thought provoking and represent a range of different viewpoints and types of evidence, raising interesting views from the literature and highlighting challenging concepts.
  • adhere to the CIPD’s house style regarding tone of voice, punctuation, capitalisation, use of numbers and the setting out of references
  • Include content that can be represented graphically and through illustration.

Project management and budget

This project will be managed by Dr Jill Miller from the CIPD’s research team. A total budget of up to £10,000 (excluding VAT) has been set aside to commission researchers to deliver the report, but we would also be interested in what could be provided for a lesser amount, and open to ideas for additional costs. Please provide a detailed cost breakdown for your suggested approach.

Tendering process

Please email a short proposal (i.e. 2 to 3 sides plus accompanying evidence) by 8 a.m. BST on Monday 19 September 2016. We hope to respond to all tender submissions by end of day 23 September and invite shortlisted applicants to an interview on 28 or 29 September  – please confirm in your submission your availability on these dates for a meeting at our central London office in Victoria or, if not, a teleconference. The CIPD will not reimburse travel expenses.

Please confirm the following in your proposal:

  • Name(s) of project researcher(s) and, if more than one, their respective roles (e.g. literature search, writing, workshop facilitating)
  • If more than one organisation is involved in your bid, please specify with which part of the research project they will be involved.
  • Your area(s) of expertise – a list of publications should be submitted in evidence
  • An outline of the methodology you intend to use and an indication of which disciplines and literature you envisage drawing upon
  • Your access to academic literature
  • Evidence of writing for practitioner (non-academic) audiences – an example article or report may be included with your submission
  • Detailed breakdown of costs
  • Project timetable, to include a project set-up meeting, progress meetings and delivery of outputs.

Contact details for submissions and queries: Marion Craig, email: