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Discussion Papers

The publications of the Weizenbaum Discussion Papers present results from the ongoing research of the institute. The series is open for different publication formats such as monographs, technical reports, preprints, working papers and many more.

Discussion Paper #40

Was macht interdisziplinäre Teams erfolgreich?

In areas such as digital transformation, interdisciplinary research (IDR) is regarded as a key to solving complex social problems. There is a lack of systematic evaluation of successful IDR teams in order to promote learning processes and better support interdisciplinary career paths better than before. The authors want to fill this gap using the example of the interdisciplinary field of digitization research.
Silvio Suckow, Josephine B. Schmitt, Sara Saba, Kim Beese, Maria Staudte, Andreas Wenninger

Discussion Paper #39

Two worlds of AI in the world of work

Although many companies are experimenting with AI, there is a lack of training for specialists. The new technology is better accepted when works councils are involved. However, they often lack the resources and expertise to deal with the technology. The "AI in the world of work" study was conducted by the "Working with artificial intelligence" research group at the Weizenbaum Institute.
Martin Krzywdzinski

Discussion Paper #38

Generative AI and the Future of Work

This report examines the potential impact of Generative artificial intelligence (AI) systems, such as ChatGPT, on the future of work and, by implication, on productivity. It argues that although Generative AI is powerful, it has significant limitations and risks that require humans to remain “in the loop” not only to prevent systems from going off the rails, but to capture value.
John Zysman, Mark Nitzberg

Series #37

The Rebound Effects of Automation

This contribution argues for a shift in the paradigms by which we assess the impact of automation on work. Using short case studies on work in logistics, industry and care, the implementation of digital technology is shown to be partly motivated by the labour market situation – automation technologies are introduced to mitigate labour shortages. However, the case studies also illustrate the exuberant expectations about the effects of digitalisation in this respect. While the narratives behind the introduction of digital technologies are heavily shaped by the motivation to combat labour shortages, the actual technologies are barely equipped to do so. Conflicts about the (relief from) an excessive burden at work begin to take on centre stage in industrial relations.
Florian Butollo

Series #36

When do Works Councils and Employees Accept the Implementation of Wearables in the Workplace?

Wearables (such as data glasses and smartwatches) are a particularly visible but also controversial element of Industry 4.0 applications. They promise to improve the quality of work by supporting employees. At the same time, they pose dangers of rationalization and, above all, surveillance of work processes. This study examines under what conditions works councils and employees accept the use of wearables in the workplace. Conceptually, the analysis builds on research on the role of works councils in digitization processes as well as the Technology Acceptance Model.
Martin Krzywdzinski, Sabine Pfeiffer, Jonas Ferdinand, and Or Yosefov

Series #35

Digitalization and the Pandemic – Learning from Crisis

Based on qualitative and quantitative research conducted in 540 companies, this study outlines which technologies and applications have gained significance in businesses during the pandemic and which resources benefited them in digitization efforts. The pandemic has primarily propelled the virtualization of communication and interaction in companies, while having little immediate impact on automation processes. In particular, it has widened the gap between digitalization pioneers and followers. Finally, the study provides recommendations for action to policymakers and society.
Christine Gerber, Franziska Cooiman, Florian Butollo, Martin Krzywdzinski, David Wandjo, Matthias Danyeli, Nina Delicat, and Lorena Herzog

Series #34

COVID-19 and Platform Work in Germany

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the prominence of last-mile delivery workers in German cities underscored the widespread adoption of platform-based service provision. The platform economy surged from 3bn EUR in 2016 to 14bn EUR in 2020. COVID-19 posed challenges for both platform companies and workers, with heightened health risks for delivery and mobility workers. Understanding the pandemic's impact on the platform economy is crucial for shaping fair working conditions and a resilient economy post-pandemic.
Lorena Herzog, Franziska Cooiman, Christine Gerber, and David Wandjo

Series #33

The Impact of COVID-19 on California’s Plans for Caring for its Aging Population

Recent technology advancements offer older adults opportunities for enhanced healthcare monitoring, remote consultations, and social connectivity, transforming aging in place. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of these technologies, emphasizing the importance of remote healthcare and communication for seniors. Initiatives like California's WelbeHealth Program demonstrate adaptable models of elderly care, providing flexibility and responsiveness to meet seniors' needs.
Bruce Pickering, David Lindeman, and Allyson Tang

Series #32

Sustainable Digital Sovereignty: Interdependencies Between Sustainable Digitalization and Digital Sovereignty

This study is dedicated to the interdependencies between digital sovereignty and sustainable digitalization, which need to be explicitly linked to an increasing degree in political discourse, academia, and societal debates. Digital skills are the prerequisites for shaping digitalization in the interest of society and sustainable development.
Bianca Herlo, André Ullrich, and Gergana Vladova

Series #31

Agile Methods on the Shop Floor. Towards a “Tesla Production System”?

This discussion paper investigates two questions: To what extend can Tesla be regarded as a digital firm, and do we – as a result – see elements of a distinct “Tesla production system”? Although it might be exaggerated to speak of a distinct “Tesla Production system”, indications for a considerable and possibly enduring alteration of Lean Production paradigm can be determined.
Timo Daum

Series #30

Deglobalization, Reconfiguration, or Business as Usual?

The COVID-19 pandemic has seemingly reinforced the need for geographic restructuring and a rehoring of production, as it has demonstrated the vulnerability of globalized production. This article provides an assessment of the impact of COVID-19 on the geographies of production, looking particularly at developments in the automotive, electronics, and clothing industries.
Florian Butollo and Cornelia Staritz

Series #29

Foundations of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

We examine the technical background of artificial intelligence and machine learning from an interdisciplinary perspective and aim to develop common definitions that can be used for further research in legal academia. These findings provide a common starting point for a more differentiated treatment of legal (and technical) questions surrounding artificial intelligence and machine learning and allow legal academia to make reliable legal statements as well as to advance legal research in this field.
Alfred Früh and Dario Haux

Series #28

Team Collaboration and Productivity

The shift to remote work poses particular challenges for teamwork. It makes spontaneous and informal communication more difficult and may weaken social relations in teams. This study based on an online survey of 1,516 individuals who worked from home during the COVID-19 pandemic examines the functioning of teamwork in remote-work contexts and attempts to answer the following questions: (1) What organizational and technical working conditions influence working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic? (2) How did collaboration in different forms of teamwork evolve under working-fromhome conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic? (3) What effects of working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic can be observed in terms of teamwork productivity?
Martin Krzywdzinski

Series #27

Zusammenarbeit und Produktivität im Team

Die Umstellung auf Homeoffice während der COVID-19-Pandemie war eine Herausforderung für Teams. Die sozialen Kontakte und die Vielzahl informeller Begegnungen und Kommunikationsströme nahmen ab, die Interaktion fand vor allem virtuell statt und erforderte neue Kommunikationsmuster. In der vorliegenden, auf einer Befragung von 1.516 Erwerbstätigen beruhenden, Studie wurde untersucht (1) welche organisatorischen, aber auch technischen Bedingungen die Arbeit im Homeoffice während der COVID-19-Pandemie prägen, (2) wie sich die Zusammenarbeit in unterschiedlichen Formen der Teamarbeit unter den Bedingungen des Homeoffice während der COVID-19-Pandemie entwickelt hat und (3) welche Auswirkungen des Homeoffice sich während der COVID-19-Pandemie im Hinblick auf die Produktivität der Teamarbeit beobachten lassen.
Martin Krzywdzinski

Series #26

Federated Blockchain Systems

Blockchain-based systems are enjoying unbroken popularity. Different economic and social actors are investigating their application for fostering decentralization and separation of power. In this overview article, after a short review of the Bitcoin approach and possible alternatives to it, we introduce the ideas behind federated blockchain systems and discuss their impact on future blockchain systems.
Dr. Martin Florian

Series #25

The Growing Gap Between Pioneers and Laggards

The COVID 19 crisis has had a massive impact on the world of work. Based on a standardized survey of 540 company sites and 34 qualitative case studies in six industries (automotive, chemicals, mechanical engineering, logistics, healthcare and financial services), this study examines how companies’ digitalization and automation strategies have changed in the context of the pandemic.
Martin Krzywdzinski, Florian Butollo, Jana Flemming, Christine Gerber, David Wandjo, Nina Delicat, Lorena Herzog, Marc Bovenschulte and Michael Nerger

Series #24

Wachsende Kluft zwischen Vorreiterunternehmen und Nachzüglern

Die COVID-19-Krise hat massiven Einfluss auf die Arbeitswelt. Basierend auf einer standardisierten Befragung von 540 Betrieben und 34 qualitativen Fallstudien in sechs Branchen (Automobil, Chemie, Maschinenbau, Logistik, Gesundheit und Finanzdienstleistungen) untersucht die vorliegende Studie, wie sich im Kontext der Pandemie die Digitalisierungs- und Automatisierungsstrategien von Unternehmen verändert haben.
Martin Krzywdzinski, Florian Butollo, Jana Flemming, Christine Gerber, David Wandjo, Nina Delicat, Lorena Herzog, Marc Bovenschulte und Michael Nerger

Series #23

COVID-19’s Impact Upon Labor and Value Chains in the Agrifood Industry: A Case Study

We explore the impact of automation and digitalization on labor in the US agrifood system during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study considers each of the primary nodes in the system stretching from consumer through grocery stores and restaurants to last-mile delivery, distribution, food processing, farming, and agri-inputs. Not only automation and digitalization, but also the role of platforms such as Amazon, and food delivery firms such as GrubHub, Instacart, and Uber Eats are discussed.
Martin Kenney, M. Anne Visser & Mariah Padilla

Series #22

The tech company: On the neglected second nature of platforms

The unprecedented rise of startups such as Google or Amazon has spurred an ongoing debate on the conceptualization of the corporate model these firms represent. Thus far, attention has centered on the analysis of their product and market strategies highlighting their platform nature as common feature and its defining characteristic. Against this background, the article seeks to contribute to the debate by analyzing the inner mode of production as an essential component of their corporate model. The second nature of online platform firms, it is argued, is that they are tech companies. Building on this, the article aims to reconstruct how as tech companies they have learned and perfected to continuously develop and operate the Internet applications that power their online platforms at global scale.
Alexander Ziegler

Series #21

The Structural Transformation of the Scientific Public Sphere

We are currently witnessing a fundamental structural transformation of the scientific public sphere, characterized by processes of specialization, metrification, internationalization, platformization, and visibilization. In contrast to explanations of this structural transformation that invoke a technological determinism, we demonstrate its historical contingency by drawing on analytic concepts from organization theory and the case of the Open Access transformation in Germany.
Leonhard Dobusch und Maximilian Heimstädt

Series #20

Multidimensional Measurement of Mobile Media Use

Just like all types of media use, mobile media use is usually measured using retrospective, self-reported indications of quanitity in the form of duration and frequency. This is not only problematic due to the fact that people misjudge their own use to a great extent, but also because theoretical approaches predominantly suggest that mere contact is not sufficient for the description of media use. In this paper, I am proposing a renewed, multidimensional measure of mobile media use that takes into account these characteristics in addition to well-known measures of quantity and suggest methods for assessing its convergent and content validity.
Roland Toth

Series #19

Data and Digital Platforms in Industry: Implication for enterprises strategies and governance

This article explores the position of industrial internet platforms (IIP) in manufacturing value chains. We develop an understanding of the role of data in global value chains (GVCs), referring to literature on intangible assets and theories on platform business models. We use data from a qualitative empirical study based on 45 interviews on platforms active on the German market to answer (1) whether there are tendencies of oligopolization that lead to an accumulation of power on the side of the platforms, and (2) whether it is the platforms that capture most of the gains derived from higher productivity or lower transaction costs.
Florian Butollo and Lea Schneidemesser

Series #18

Data Governance Act Proposal

This Position Paper contains statements drafted by several Research Groups at the Weizenbaum Institute concerning the Data Governance Act (DGA) Proposal. Each statement is followed by a short explanation. The purpose of this Paper is to highlight a number of important aspects of the DGA Proposal and stimulate the debate around it with a special emphasis on the part that concerns regulation of data sharing services
Weizenbaum research groups “Frameworks for Data Markets”, “Work and Cooperation in the Sharing Economy”, “Trust in Distributed Environments”, “Responsibility and the Internet of Things”, and “Reorganizing Knowledge Practices”

Series #17

Opening up and Sharing Data from Qualitative Research: A Primer

The call for free access to research data and materials is becoming louder and louder from the political and scientific communities in Germany. More and more researchers are facing demands to open up qualitative research data for scientific purposes. They often have a general interest in sharing their data, but are unsure how to proceed. This handout was developed to provide an initial introduction to opening and sharing qualitative data.
Steinhardt et al.

Series #16

Digitalisierung der Arbeitswelt in und nach der COVID-19-Krise: Thesen und Handlungsempfehlungen

Es gibt Anhaltspunkte dafür, dass die durch die COVID-19-Pandemie ausgelöste Krise zu strukturellen Veränderungen der Arbeitswelt geführt hat, die in engem Zusammenhang mit Digitalisierungsprozessen stehen. Einige Veränderungen sind in industriellen Produktionsprozessen, der mobilen Arbeit und auch der Plattformarbeit zu erwarten. Damit solche Veränderungen sich positiv auf die Arbeitswelt auswirken ist politische Gestaltung gefragt.
Florian Butollo, Jana Flemming, David Wandjo, Christine Gerber und Martin Krzywdzinski

Series #15

The Internet has coped well with Covid-19, but problems remain: Evidence to House of Lords Committee exploring the impact of Covid-19

Volker Stocker, Jason Whalley

Series #14

The Digital Constellation

Sebastian Berg, Niklas Rakowski, Thorsten Thiel

Series #13

Umstrittene Expertise im Falle einer neuen Technologie

Eine explorative Untersuchung der Online-Konsultation zur Blockchain-Strategie der Bundesregierung
Moritz Becker, Sebastian Henningsen, Ingolf G.A. Pernice

Series #12

Die Regulierung Künstlicher Intelligenz - Neuer Rechtsrahmen für Algorithmische Entscheidungssysteme?

Ferdinand Müller, Martin Schüßler und Elsa Kirchner

Series #11

Resilience of Public Spheres in a Global Health Crisis

H.J. Trenz, A. Heft, M. Vaughan & B. Pfetsch

Series #10

Automation, Digitalization, and Changes in Occupational Structures in the Automobile Industry in Germany, the United States, and Japan

A Brief History from the Early 1990s Until 2018
Martin Krzywdzinski

Series #09

“Digital Taylorism”? - Data Practices and Governance in the Enterprise Software Salesforce

Eva-Maria Nyckel

Series #08

How Right-Wing Alternative News Sites in the U.S. Depict Antifa

Curd Knüpfer

Series #07

Varieties of platform work. Platforms and social inequality in Germany and the United States

Martin Krzywdzinski & Christine Gerber

Series #06

Das Öffnen und Teilen von Daten qualitativer Forschung

Ergebnisse eines Workshops der Forschungsgruppe „Digitalisierung der Wissenschaft“

Series #05

Conditions to Strengthen Future Cross-Border Journalism

Our findings highlight essential aspects where existing platforms, practitioners, educators, and funders, as well as researchers with interest in cross-border collaboration can take action to develop the practice of cross-border collaborative journalism further and to enhance our understanding of its effects.
Annett Heft

Series #04

Gaps and Opportunities: The Rudimentary Protection to ‘Data-Paying Consumers’ under New EU Consumer Protection Law

Not all the ostensibly free contents, services and products offered in digital form over the internet are an expression of sheer gratuitousness. Very often, traders monetise data and contents that are being provided and generated over the course of using the content or service instead of charging money for that use. One key question is whether such arrangements constitute a valid contract where the user’s counter-performance is reduced to merely providing data. Should that be the case, the next questions are what kind of a contract this is and whether the user may benefit from consumer protection law with respect to the digital contents or services even though she did not pay any price for it.
Zohar Efroni

Series #03


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Information seeking and communication during forced migration

The recent refugee movements to Europe occur in the digital age. While there is a common perception that ‘every refugee carries a smartphone’, research on this new phenomenon is limited. To fill this academic gap, we have conducted a representative survey of more than 400 refugees living in Berlin which provides insight into the use of digital media in preparation for and during forced migration. We also asked whether digital media shaped images of and expectations about the refugees’ target country Germany.
Martin Emmer, Marlene Kunst & Carola Richter
Zum Beitrag in der Weizenbaum Library

Series #02

Risiken digitaler Systeme - Robotik, Lernfähigkeit und Vernetzung als aktuelle Herausforderungen für das Recht

Digitale Systeme stehen im Mittelpunkt aktueller rechtlicher und politischer Diskussionen. Stichworte wie Künstliche Intelligenz oder Autonomie werden dabei nicht immer einheitlich verwendet. Dieser Beitrag möchte die wichtigsten Begriffe klären und einen Überblick über die entscheidenden aktuellen Entwicklungen im Bereich der Informationstechnologie geben. Er ist aus dem Blickwinkel eines Juristen geschrieben, beschäftigt sich aber nur mit den technischen Aspekten.
Herbert Zech

Series #01

The Selective Catalyst - Internet use as a mediator of citizenship norms’ effects on political participation

We test the mediating effect of media use on the effects of citizenship norms - shared ideas of what a good citizen is - on political participation. We do so by comparing France and Finland, two countries with distinct media trust levels. Results support the notion that Internet use works as a selective catalyst of political participation, as it is enhanced merely by engaged citizenship norms but not by dutiful citizenship norms. Within the nexus of citizenship norms, media use, and political participation, this article contributes to a better understanding of the normative premises for the Internet use to promote political engagement within differing media contexts.
Laura Leißner, António Valentim, Pablo Porten-Cheé & Martin Emmer