P11 Hybrid and anticipatory governance for hybrid work and innovation

Corresponding and review group chair

Kaisa Lähteenmäki-Smith, PhD, Principal Scientist, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, kaisa.lahteenmaki-smith@vtt.fi 

Coordinators/organisers and co-chairs

  1. VTT Technical Research Institute of Finland, Team Leader Kirsi Hyytinen, PhD.
  2. Finnish Institute for Occupational Health, Chief specialist Sinimaaria Ranki.
  3. MDI LTD, Speicalist Samuli Manu, M. Soc. Sci.

The large-scale spread of remote work was linked to the corona crisis, which changed work-related attitudes, norms and practices, and forced to offer and formulate new solutions, especially in terms of management and interaction. The issues associated with hybrid work still remain deeply divided in their impact between white and blue-collar work, which should also be better taken into consideration, as well as the fact that most sectors of our labour force are facing labour availability challenges, due to our demographic situation. 2 Here hybrid work and technological innovations also play a part, with industrial metaverse potentially bridging the physical and virtual work environments and enabling seamless cooperation and communication between workers, robots and AI. Therein lies a potential for change, also making industrial and manufacturing sectors more attractive and sustainable, as well as productivity increasing.    

It is possible to interpret the loosening of the physical binding of work tasks as part of the breaking of the uniform working time paradigm. Contradictory issues such as individualisation and collective identity, centralisation and decentralisation of economic activities, the marketization of the determination of working hours, the increase in technological possibilities, as well as the diverse and at ties conflicting wishes and expectations of employees are at play. The advantages of hybrid work identified in research range from productivity and wellbeing3 to broader issues of local and regional vitality4.   

Such hybrid work constellations offer different possibilities for the governance and steering, as well as for building more adjustable forms of governance and working practice. In some cases (e.g. Ireland) a national strategy has been drafted to fully realise the potential of feeding innovation, entrepreneurship and new leadership culture, whilst in other cases businesses have been left largely to their own devices. There is an increasing body of research in this area, which suggests that key elements of the solution for governance of hybrid work and innovation lie in rethinking skills and competences, digitalisation, accountability and trust.   

Questions approached in the session include: 

  • What do we know about the governance of and preconditions for hybrid work in today’s workplaces? How could this knowledge be better used in working places, networks, local and regional contexts?  
  • What do we know about the best methods and practices for organizing hybrid work, as well as the methods of organizing and managing work in hybrid constellations, as well as the leadership and governance of hybrid work? 
  • Are there examples of organizing hybrid work that have provided responses and solutions to labour availability?   
  • Is there knowledge and research results available on differences between sectors and industries that could be useful to pay heed to in governance and policy for hybrid work? 

In this session we welcome papers, which discuss and present examples of innovative practice and anticipatory governance in relation to hybrid work, be it in innovative organisational set-ups, or in working and leadership practice within organisations. We equally welcome papers and presentations that deal with country-, company- or industry specific case studies of hybrid governance of innovation.  They can also present examples of technological governance solutions (metaverse or AI), as well as policy innovations or more design-based examples of innovative practice.