Psycho-social factors and the technologies of work.

Abstract

This paper examines the probable association between use of complex technologies in the work setting and psycho-social factors believed to impact upon human health. The analysis is set within two long-standing philosophical perspectives on technology, one which holds that technology controls human choice and action, and the other which sees technology as a useful tool for extending human capabilities. Research evidence linking technologies of work to health are reviewed. On the basis of this literature, the authors conclude that, in general, among blue collar and clerical workers, technology is often a controlling element, to the detriment of health; but among professionals and managers, technology can be an aid to work and may therefore facilitate positive health. Strategies are offered toward the prevention and detection of, and intervention into work environments which, through the use of high technology, may pose a threat to health.

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