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Curbing the drawbacks of digitization on psycho-social risks at work in educational institutions. Preliminary evidence from Europe

Rocco Palumbo (Department of Management and Law, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy)

Quality Assurance in Education

ISSN: 0968-4883

Article publication date: 18 May 2021

Issue publication date: 27 September 2021

492

Abstract

Purpose

Digitization is reshaping the functioning of educational institutions. Large attention has been paid to the innovative service models enabled by digitization. However, the implications of digitization on employees’ well-being need further investigation. The purpose of this paper is to examine the effects of digitization on psycho-social risks at work in a large sample of European educational institutions.

Design/methodology/approach

Secondary data were collected from the third wave of the European Survey of Enterprises on New and Emerging Risks (ESENER). A serial mediation model was designed to obtain evidence on the implications of digitization on the psycho-social risks at work in 3,540 educational institutions. Alongside the direct implications of digitization on psycho-social risks, its indirect effects mediated by occupational health interventions and healthy workplace initiatives were investigated.

Findings

Digitization exacerbated psycho-social stressors at work. Increasing time pressures and intensifying work, digitization imperiled the employees’ well-being. Occupational health partially mediated the implications of digitization on psycho-social risks. Although healthy workplace interventions seemed to prevent the side effects of digitization on psycho-social risk, its mediating role was not statistically significant.

Practical implications

Digitization should be accompanied by interventions aimed at ensuring occupational health and at promoting a healthy workplace to minimize its drawbacks on psycho-social risks. Occupational health creates a greater awareness of the negative effects of digitization on work-related stressors. Healthy workplace initiatives contribute to enhancing the employees’ psycho-physical well-being.

Originality/value

This study reports the negative implications of digitization on psycho-social risks at work in educational institutions, envisioning some avenues for further development.

Keywords

Citation

Palumbo, R. (2021), "Curbing the drawbacks of digitization on psycho-social risks at work in educational institutions. Preliminary evidence from Europe", Quality Assurance in Education, Vol. 29 No. 2/3, pp. 84-100. https://doi.org/10.1108/QAE-02-2021-0019

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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