All technology can be shaped and used in different ways. In the 1970s, apprehensions about the advance of computer technology were evident in many quarters. The main fear was that information technology could constitute a threat to employment, work environment and personal integrity. This unrest was manifest in many ways, and initiated research on the influence of computer technology on working life. However, by the 1980s, the critical attitude to the technology changed to a positive one. Now, it became a matter of harnessing the many opportunities offered by the new technology, through interdisciplinary and applied research, rather than questioning its existence. The fairly extensive research that followed in this discipline in Sweden has been given the generic name here of ITW; in other words, research and development focusing on the design, implementation and use of information and communications technology in working life.
This summary presents an impact analysis of the impact that a selection of these research programmes and projects has had on the socio-political and socio-economic goals of growth, democracy, competence and work environment. The analysis has been carried out from three different perspectives; a working-life perspective, an IT perspective and a research perspective. Each perspective has been characterised by both successes and setbacks.
For full analysis in Swedish see "Användningsdriven utveckling av IT i arbetslivet" (Vinnova Rapport/Analys VA 2007:02), as well as an Swedish version of this summary "Sammanfattning - Användningsdriven utveckling av IT i arbetslivet" (Vinnova Rapport/Analys VA 2007:03).