Empowerment in the digitized working environment – Developing sustainable concepts for the digitization (EdA)

Starting situation

With the digitization of economy and society, we become contemporary witnesses of a profound change with far-reaching consequences for companies and their employees. The progressive digitization and a new quality of informatization become the driving forces for profound changes in the working environment. A look at practice clarifies: The new potentials of digitization are not everywhere used for the support of self-organization, personal responsibility, and employee participation. In many companies, the new potentials of digitization are being used for automation. In addition, employees can be monitored through the new transparency of information. In this way, the opportunities offered by the digital transformation process are being counteracted by empowerment as the cornerstone of innovative corporate design and the key to exploiting salutogenic potentials. Companies are currently at a crossroads. The digital revolution enables a fundamental redesign of the working environment. More and more companies realize the necessity to reinvent themselves and look for new forms of organization to exploit new potentials of digitization. A vital success factor for a successful change is the empowerment of the employees: The companies depend on the fact that employees and teams share their knowledge with each other, act in a self-organized manner, have a high willingness to change and develop a new culture of learning. The execution of a sustainable concept of empowerment is of outstanding significance regarding the future design of the digital working environment. Therefore, it is essential to consider the requirements of empowerment and to design them adequately.


Aim of the project

The joint project "Empowerment in the digitized working environment" (EdA) is a design-oriented project aimed at developing, testing, and evaluating new approaches to empowerment together with important pioneering companies in the field of digitization. These developed approaches are then converted into reference models for a wide range of users. EdA aims to contribute to a new humanization of the working environment in the digital age. With that in mind, the dissemination of crowdsourcing is a vital phenomenon of the digitization of the economy and the modern IT era. More and more companies use crowdsourcing for various tasks and systematically integrate it into different business processes. As a result, almost all value-creating areas of a company are currently outsourced to the crowd. Therefore, the aim of the sub-project of the University of Kassel is to develop innovative approaches and concepts for the empowerment and self-determination of crowd workers. The sub-project pursues the following objectives: The scientific investigations are supposed to provide information about the embedment of the crowd in the platforms’ organizational structures as well as about the perception of the individual crowd workers. Initially, it is important to examine the organizational and infrastructural requirements of this new digital form of working. The platforms act as intermediaries and thus determine the performance of the individual crowd workers. In this context, it should be identified which crowdsourcing platforms render which services (type and extent). The way this provision of services on these platforms occur and how the respective companies (crowdsourcers) are integrated should be examined. Furthermore, the role of the individual crowd workers within the crowd-based work is expected to be analysed. In the next step, the focus of the investigation is the analysis of the experience and the perception of work from the perspective of the individual crowd workers.

Project Team

  • Fachgebiet Wirtschaftsinformatik – Universität Kassel
  • Andrena objects GmbH
  • Audi AG
  • IG Metall
  • ISF München

Value and Practice Partners

  • Deutscher Crowdsourcing Verband (DCV) e.V.
  • Hochschule Kempten – Professur für Fertigungsautomatisierung und Automatisierungssysteme
  • Mylittlejob.de
  • Streetspotr.com
  • SAP SE
  • Siemens AG
  • T-Systems International GmbH
  • ZukunftsAllianz Arbeit & Gesellschaft


The project „Empowerment in the digitalized working environment“ is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research und the European Social Fund of the European Union with the project lead partner PTKA (Projektträger Karlsruhe am Karlsruher Institut für Technologie/KIT) (funding code: 02L15A051).



  • Prof. Dr. Jan Marco Leimeister
  • Dr. Christoph Peters
  • Benedikt Simmert