IoT in Agriculture: Trust Matters

*This is the second in a series of blog posts published as part of the author’s ongoing research.

Cevdet Bulut | PhD Candidate | School of Business Management, Royal Holloway, University of London

The captain’s announcement comes shortly before the take-off of the flight. Etna – Europe’s most active volcano – erupts for 147th time on this afternoon of 21st May 2023, causing a major disruption to air traffic as dozens of flights to Catania airport are affected. “This isn’t a great start to my field trip,” I am thinking to myself as my flight is now being diverted from Catania to Palermo airport.

After having spent most of the night at the Palermo airport, I finally manage to arrive in Niscemi where the case company is based. I am received by Giusielisa Lo Presti, a project manager at Smartisland, who works with local farmers in Sicily to understand their needs and assist in implementation of Daiki, company’s flagship product for smart agriculture. “The volcano is not a curse but a blessing for us,” says Giusielisa, smiling. “Volcanic ash is a kind of fertiliser that is rich in minerals and provides unique conditions for growing orchard and vegetables with a special taste and [purple] colour,” she explains, pulling up some images of purple cauliflower as an example of the vegetables grown by farmers on the slopes of Etna.

Interviewing Maria Luisa Cinquerrui, Founder and CEO

Named after a Japanese word meaning “Light”, Daiki is entirely designed by Maria Luisa Cinquerrui, an engineering graduate and founder of the company. “The idea that I had while I studied at university. I had previously worked on the family farm and I was aware of the problems my father faced with cultivation. Initially, I wanted to help my father, but then I realised that my product could help all farmers,” Maria Luisa reveals how she came up with the idea to start an IoT business.

Founded in 2016, Smartisland provides solutions to local farmers to monitor and support growth of plants. “The business is still developing today, but we have already made a profit,” Maria says, pointing out the challenges of being successful in the male-dominated STEM world. “Prototyping, building the technology, and finding the right people to work with,” she says, were the most difficult aspects when she started the company.

Irrigation was the first use case implemented. “Water scarcity is a problem in Sicily, which is why Maria Luisa created Daiki; she thought that someone needed to do something for the future of this land. It’s an easy concept, but a strong idea that can change the world,” Giusielisa explains. Today, the product can be configured for use in both indoor and outdoor conditions for various use cases from irrigation to monitoring of diseases and pest detection for orchards, vegetables and crops like corn, wheat and maize.

The company’s primary target customers are small and medium-sized farms, most of which are family-run businesses. What about the skills of farmers? “Yeah, maybe the person who owns the farms, but the one who is investing and really managing everything is the son or daughter. So what’s in the reading it’s different from reality,” Gaetana Galesi replies, an international relations manager at Smartisland. They invite me to join the team for a visit to a production facility located in Vittoria, a neighbouring town.

Emilio, a customer of Smartisland explains how to access and manage Daiki

We are welcomed by Emilio, the owner of the facility consisting of eight greenhouses where tomatoes and peppers are produced year-round in a protected environment. He has been one of the first customers of Smartisland. “You can check your farm from a distance,” he says, who been using Daiki to automate irrigation, as well as to monitor and forecast the amount of water and fertiliser to apply. “They typically collect 35% or more yield. And, water saving of 40%. Even, the quality of tomatoes better,” Giovanni Chiolo, COO of Smartisland, explains the impact the Daiki brings.

Giovanni Chiolo explains the process of fertigation

Soon after, Emilio has to leave but we continue our visit without him. “If you noticed, the owner left us alone on his farm, this is because he trusts us. This is a kind of relationship that we have built with him and other customers. So, we are different from multinationals,” says Giusielisa, underlining the importance of trust for their customers.

The Daiki web interface is showing the captured environmental values of the site visited

The company follows a simple yet effective marketing strategy: word-of-mouth. “Farmers promote our product, Daiki, because they find it beneficial that it has helped them. Therefore, they talk to other farmers and promote it to them,” says Gaetana. So-called “Smart Labs” concept developed by the company plays an important role in this strategy. “These are small artificial farms, where you can test Daiki,” she explains. The company runs a number of these facilities, working with elementary and middle schools to spread the word and promote smart agriculture.

Farmers who are willing to start investing in smart agriculture in Italy are financially supported by the government with a voucher program. “The Italian government is an active participant in this ecosystem with many actors, and we are part of a network with a focus on agricultural development. They are helping us to find matching opportunities,” Giusielisa highlights the role of the government.

Leading a small team of seven from humble offices in Niscemi and a niche client base, Maria Luisa sees greater potential. “Revolution is big for agriculture, and the farmers are ready for it. In recent years, they have been more open to digitalisation.”

What is next for Smartisland? “Complete the supply chain,” she says indicating that she wants to tackle the farm-to-fork use case and open international markets for local farmers.

Smartisland team – Gaetana Galesi, Maria Luisa Cinquerrui and Giusielisa Lo Presti


This is a series of blogs curated by PhD candidate Cevdet Bulut, who is investigating the adoption of IoT in agriculture. In this series, the author shares a limited version of his field notes and highlights from multiple case studies in a news story format as part of his current research study. The scope of the case studies is to uncover what factors (socio-economic, cultural, technical, etc.) affect the adoption of IoT and to gain experience from the field that can guide the design of viable IoT-based business models for the sector. A new blog will be published on each case study with the participant’s permission.

Other blogs in this series:

IoT in Agriculture: Why Technology Is Not Enough for Success

*This is the first in a series of blog posts published as part of the author’s ongoing research.

Cevdet Bulut | PhD Candidate | School of Business Management, Royal Holloway, University of London

In a hilly village of Banoštor, only about a half-hour drive away from Novi Sad, I stand on the top of the hill surrounded by a 70-hectare vineyard, overlooking the waters of the Danube River.

“Soon, in about 15 days, the grapevine will bloom. It is a very smart plant. It usually does not come to maturity because, for example, last week we had very cold weather,” says Nemanja Mišić, an agronomist and research assistant at DunavNET. “I work with end users in the field for hardware installation, but it’s my own wish to be there, because it’s easier for me to understand the whole process,” he says, highlighting the importance of being close to the end users.

On my second day of research trip with the company, I am offered to join Nemanja for a field trip to Fruškogorski Vinogradi, a vineyard situated on the slopes of the Fruška Gora Mountain, the only mountain in Vojvodina region. I was eager to observe the interaction with farmers and talk to them, as well as to see an IoT-enabled weather station in action.

The agroNet web interface is showing the stations visited during the field trip.

Fruškogorski Vinogradi is one of vineyards included in the pilot project funded by the Association of Producers of Grapevine and Wines in Fruška Gora. A total of 17+ weather stations have been installed by DunavNET to cover multiple vineyards, so that every member of the association would have access to agroNET for the shared data and insights.

We decide to leave the car and walk uphill on this beautiful April day. After a ten-minute walk, we arrive at one of two weather stations installed to cover the vineyard. This expensive piece of hardware, costing about 1000 euros, is used by the company to capture temperature, humidity, and precipitation in order to calculate the water deficit and air respiration. “This weather station has been here since the beginning of the project, which is now three and a half years, and has worked fine until today,” Nemanja says, reaffirming its stability and resistance to adverse weather conditions. When it comes to energy consumption, it doesn’t seem to be an issue thanks to the use of solar panels, according to him. “They usually say five to ten years, but it depends on the size of the solar panel attached to the weather station. The bigger panels can last longer because they charge better.”

Nemanja inspects the weather station

agroNET detects a malfunction with this station, which sends abnormal values for temperature measurements. After some inspection and discussion over the phone with colleagues at the office, Nemanja comes to the conclusion that the capacitor is the source of the issue. “It is not the first time that we have had this problem, and it is not the first time that we have been able to solve it with a capacitor. It is not a big job, but it does take time; I mean, you need to come here.” As an active observer, I assisted Nemanja in dismantling it and taking it to the office to be replaced and activated.

Soon after, we are joined by Ivan, the vineyard manager. “This is an old wine region. In this village [Banoštor] every house makes wine,” says Ivan, who lives in a nearby village and has been managing this vineyard for 13 years. At its peak during harvesting season, Ivan manages a team of over fifty employees in addition to other seasonal workers, spending most of his time managing and organising the daily operations.

Ivan uses agroNET to monitor and read reports on daily basis using his mobile. The app he finds “Very easy, with no problem,” and he likes to use it mostly to read information about the expected “amount of rain” for his decision making on when to spray. “In agriculture, it’s very important when you spray your pesticides. Because it’s important that rain doesn’t fall after washing the pesticides away from the leaves, and sometimes it’s very important to know how much rain actually has fallen,” Nemanja elaborates. However, spraying must be managed manually. Ivan touches upon the lack of automation for spraying but does not yet see the use of drones for spraying pesticides as a viable option. “Not enough amount of water drone can handle, because one hectare needs 600 to 1000 litres and the drone cannot carry that much water,” Ivan explains.

Interviewing Ivan, the vineyard manager

Ivan nods and expresses his appreciation of the service he receives but points out one issue due to the terrain conditions of the vineyard. “More complicated weather station necessary for these vineyards. Here, we may need more stations to cover all of this. There is a big difference. This vineyard is different from the down vineyard; the microclimate is different,” he says.

We skip the second and go directly to the third station which is installed to monitor insects. This device, consisting of an insect trap and a camera, sends a picture every day. Ivan checks the agroNET app every morning to track the number of insects and decides when to apply pesticides. He says that it is helping, but only for one type of insect. In vineyards, they have two or three different types, depending on the year.

“Agriculture is really complex, and every year brings something new and different. With globalisation, there are new insects, new diseases, and other big problems…”

A total of three stations for weather and insect monitoring have been provided to Ivan to support him in making data-driven decisions. “This is just a tool to help farmers make decisions on time according to the data. This cannot solve all their problems, but it can help them to better manage,” Nemanja explains. Ivan certainly sees value in the product, but he underlines the associated cost as a barrier, saying, “In Serbia, the biggest problem is paying.”

“The financial part is a barrier, definitely,” says Spasenija Gajinov, a product manager at dunavNET. She expects the government to act and provide subsidies to farmers and thinks that would accelerate the adoption of IoT. But it’s not yet in their agenda, Nemanja says, “For tractors and machinery. Last year, I think it was solar panels or something similar. So, it is likely that it will come to the digital technologist.”

The agroNET web interface is showing an image of insects captured by the station

DunavNET, the case company, was started in 2005 as a software consultancy by Srdjan Krčo, the founder and CEO of the company. After spending several years working in Ireland, he decided to return to Serbia in 2012 to fully engage with his company and to start an IoT business.

Novi Sad, where the company is based today, is the biggest city in the Vojvodina region – the agricultural heart of Serbia. “This whole area here, if you notice from coming from Belgrade airport, very flat apart from that one mountain [Fruška Gora Mountain] that you kind of cross. The primary domain sector was, and today one top three sectors, is agriculture,“ says Srdjan, the grandchild of farmers who himself spent quite a few years in the field.

DunavNET provides IoT-based solutions for many business domains, including agriculture. Today, they offer a number of IoT solutions for many sub-sectors, including livestock, orchard, vegetables, and arable crops, for various use cases such as weather monitoring, irrigation, and pest detection, using one single platform. “From the very beginning, we tried to build a holistic platform, something that would allow farmers to collect all their data into one place, whether it’s a tractor or weather station, and then build modules on top of that, that would give them recommendations, insights on specific operations, so that they can manage everything in one place. That was the approach,” Srdjan says about the company’s product strategy.

Srdjan Krčo, Founder and CEO

Srdjan believes that the IoT and ML/AI have the capability today to generate at least the same, if not better, insights, wisdom, and knowledge in agriculture that his grandparents had.

“Eventually, that is something that’s already done. So, whether it is just IoT, or machine learning, there is now a blurred line between these technologies, but we have in our system today.. If you can record temperature, humidity, precipitation, when the vegetation started etc. then you can predict diseases. And, with the support of these digital technologies, you can do it in a more efficient automatic manner, supporting you in-house or external agronomists and making their decision taking process more efficient.”

IoT is core to the company’s products but complementary to the services provided by the company. Consultancy makes a major part of their daily business. Domain knowledge is the key to success, according to Srdjan. “The good thing about IoT is that it can be applied or is being applied in different sectors. The difficult part is the same, because if you want to create an IoT solution for agriculture, .. you have to know that domain. Having an IoT platform is not sufficient, you have to provide solutions that the end users can avail of straight out of the box.”

Partners play a crucial role in service delivery. The company maintains a network of partners, ranging from hardware providers, system integrators, and telecom operators to local consultants, who can provide “a connection between us and the farmers,” Srdjan says. “We offer complete turnkey solutions, and we wouldn’t be able to do that without partners. It’s much easier if you work with someone for a longer period of time,” he explains. “We created our ecosystem,” Spasenija adds. “agroNET has been created in collaboration with researchers from universities, agronomists, and other agricultural consultants who have been in the business for twenty years,” she says. “People who are part of agricultural production with their knowledge and expertise. We use and digitise their knowledge on our platform.”

What about the technology? “It’s maturing,” Srdjan says. “For many of the scenarios, the technology as it is today is already there and solves the needs of the farmers (e.g., weather stations, various sensors, etc.) Of course, as the technology evolves, the requirements evolve as well – it’s a kind of push-pull process. Soon, we will see much more ML/AI-based solutions in the field, robots, etc.” Petar Knežević, who works as a software architect at DunavNET, confirms the same, adding, “Connectivity, battery and sensors are self-sufficient. In the last ten years I have witnessed the evolution of these devices and batteries.”

Spasenija is presenting the latest sensor technology

Today, the company exports its products and expertise to a number of countries in Europe, Canada, and the Middle East. “We were always among the first ones to do something in the digital agriculture sector in the region,” Srdjan says proudly. Nevertheless, he says the business of agriculture is “yet to become fully profitable.” “It takes time to earn trust of farmers and for the cost of technology to drop to acceptable levels. Anyhow, since COVID, we are seeing an increased pace of traction, and the engagement with farmers more focused on deployment than explanation of what benefits such solution can bring.”

Agriculture is a tough sector which “needs a lot of time and patience” in comparison to other domains such as smart cities, according to Spasenija. The sales cycle is typically quite long, but they think it will shorten in the near future. The company is already seeing some real interest. “It’s only last year and now this year, and there is that we see an increased number of commercial customers,” Srdjan says.

The team is convinced that the trend is upward, and the future is bright for smart agriculture. “I suppose, from year to year, we will have improved solutions, better devices, and more clients,” Spasenija concludes.


This is a series of blogs curated by PhD candidate Cevdet Bulut, who is investigating the adoption of IoT in agriculture. In this series, the author shares a limited version of his field notes and highlights from multiple case studies in a news story format as part of his current research study. The scope of the case studies is to uncover what factors (socio-economic, cultural, technical, etc.) affect the adoption of IoT and to gain experience from the field that can guide the design of viable IoT-based business models for the sector. A new blog will be published on each case study with the participant’s permission.

Other blogs in this series:

group of people watching on laptop

Emotions in the Digitalised Workplace

Niki Panteli, Royal Holloway University of London & NTNU, Norway,

Fay Giaver, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway,

Jostein Engesmo, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway,

Emotions, defined as  a transient state constructed on the spot based on bodily sensations, events and situations in the environment (Barrett, 2016) with an inherent action tendency (Frijda, 2007), are functional and critical for individuals for interpreting and navigating their surroundings (Lazarus, 1991). Emotions are seen as highly contextual, triggered, fuelled and shaped by the situation in which individuals find themselves with important implications for the digitalised workplace.

The link between emotions and digitalisation was first recognised by Fineman, Maitlis and Panteli (2007) who called for research to explore how emotions are constructed, modified or supressed within the virtual environment. Our recent literature review on emotions within digitalised workplaces has shown that researchers’ interests in these types of workplaces are varied and diverse. Studies have focused on different aspects of these workplaces, with some giving emphasis on the role of ICTs in the functioning of the workplace, different types of IT professionals and IT-dependent workers such as cybersecurity professionals (D’Arcy et al.2014 ), IT staff (Wang et al. 2020) or gig workers (Pignot, 2021),  the implications of the digitalised workplaces and/or specific IT use on employees’ anxiety and technostress (Elie-Dit-Cosaque et al 2012), feelings of violation (Lin et al, 2018)  and wellbeing (Abelsen, et al, 2021). Collectively, these studies  confirm that digitalised workplaces which constitute of different digital technologies and applications across diverse settings, provide plethora of opportunities to researchers to examine the processes and mechanisms through which these workplaces function, the interactions within them as well as the impact they have on individuals and organisations alike. Despite these, existing literature has remained limited.

Further, the majority of studies adopted a quantitative method, and  emotions have typically  been seen as an antecedent or moderator variable; in some studies emotions emerged as a result of data analysis,  rather than being the driving conceptual lens.

Accordingly, despite the growth of digitalisation, the relevant literature appears to be limited and though digitalised workplaces are broadly defined, there tends to be a narrow perspective taken on emotions. Our Special Issue on ‘Emotions in the Digitalised Workplace’ adds to the limited literature by bringing together research studies covering some of the research gaps that exist in this area. We argue that this topic is vital for developing insights into the impact of digitalisation on employees and other organisational members. Nevertheless, several research opportunities remain and in our editorial we identify specific areas of research that have been omitted and which deserve investigation, with implications for theory and research in the study of emotions and their relation to digitalisation and work. In particular, the new work practices made possible with technology (e.g. hybrid work, remote work, digital meetings etc.) provide autonomy and flexibility, but may also lead to a sense of isolation and loneliness (e.g. Abelsen et al. 2021). It is our position that the study of emotions in the digitalized workplace is a fruitful avenue for research.

For further information, please refer to:

Panteli, N., Giæver, F., & Engesmo, J. (2022). Guest editorial: Emotions in the digitalised workplace. Information Technology & People35(6), 1677-1692.



Abelsen, S. N., Vatne, S. H., Mikalef, P., & Choudrie, J. (2021). Digital working during the COVID-19 pandemic: how task–technology fit improves work performance and lessens feelings of loneliness. Information Technology and People.

Agogo, D., & Hess, T. J. (2018). “How does tech make you feel?” a review and examination of negative affective responses to technology use. European Journal of Information Systems, 27(5), 570–599.

Barrett, L. F. (2016). The theory of constructed emotion: an active inference account of

interoception and categorization. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 12(1), 1-23. doi:10.1093/scan/nsw154

D’Arcy, J., Herath, T., & Shoss, M. K. (2014). Understanding Employee Responses to Stressful Information Security Requirements: A Coping Perspective. Journal of Management Information Systems, 31(2), 285–318.

Elie-Dit-Cosaque, C., Pallud, J., & Kalika, M. (2011). The influence of individual, contextual, and social factors on perceived behavioral control of information technology: A field theory approach. In Journal of Management Information Systems (Vol. 28, Issue 3, pp. 201–234).

Fineman, S., Maitlis, S., and Panteli, N. 2007. Virtuality and emotion. Human Relations, 60: 555-560.

Frijda, N. H. (2007). The laws of emotion. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.

Lazarus, R. S. (1991). Emotion and adaptation. Oxford University Press.

Lin, T. C., Huang, S. L., & Chiang, S. C. (2018). User resistance to the implementation of information systems: A psychological contract breach perspective. Journal of the Association for Information Systems, 19(4), 306–332

Wang, N. (Tina), Carte, T. A., & Bisel, R. S. (2020). Negativity decontaminating: Communication media affordances for emotion regulation strategies. Information and Organization, 30(2).


Niki Panteli is a Professor of Digital Business at Royal Holloway University of London, School of Business and Management and an Adjunct Professor at the Norwegian University of Scienve and Technology. She is currently the co-director of the Digital Organisations and Society (DOS) research centre at the School of Business and Management, Royal Holloway UoL and the President for the UK Academy for Information systems ( She is a Senior Editor for Information Systems Journal and Information Technology & People. Her research has appeared in numerous top-ranked academic journals including Work, Employment and Society, the Journal of the Association of Information Systems, Information Systems Journal, European Journal of Information Systems, Human Relations, Information Technology and People, Decision Support Systems, Communications of the ACM and New Technology, Work and Employment among others.

Fay Giaver is an Associate Professor at NTNU (The Norwegian University of Science and Technology) at the Department of Psychology. She has a PhD in Psychology from NTNU. Her research interests revolve around the role of emotions at work and she has been involved in research projects on organisational change, artistic interventions at work, sickness presence/absence, and work adjustment for employees with mental health issues. Recently she has been particularly interested in how organisations concerned with environmentally responsible business practices and values can be enabled and supported. She is leading the “Greening Organizations” research group: She is currently also involved in a research project funded by the Norwegian Research Council on sustainable meat-use in Norwegian food practices for climate mitigation (MEATigation) focusing particularly on the organisational perspective.

Jostein Engesmo is an Associate professor at NTNU, Department of Computer Science. He has a PhD in organisation change from Department of Industrial Economics and Technology Management from the same university. For several years he worked as a management consultant and project manager for various companies. His research interest now is within the topics of digital transformation and adoption of digital solutions. Currently, he is involved in research projects looking at digital leaders in digital transformation, and adoption of AI-based solutions.

Women proposing: Gender equality in wedding rituals 

Vera Hoelscher, Royal Holloway, University of London
Daniela Pirani, University of Liverpool
Ratna Khanijou, Goldsmiths, University of London 

When Carl and Juliet left their wooden cabin to go on a hike of the Norwegian summer scenery, little did Carl know that his girlfriend was about to propose. As they headed through the woodlands to a nearby lake, Juliet kept falling behind. Carl thought that this was odd as her steady step would usually pace their hikes. Juliet, however, was tirelessly searching the forest floor for lichen to fashion into a ring. When the couple finally reached the lake, Juliet’s palms were sweaty and her knees weak. She seized the moment, got down on one knee, and ask him to marry her. Back at the cabin, the freshly engaged couple were buzzing to share the news with their families. Juliet’s mother was astonished that her daughter had asked her future husband for his hand in marriage rather than waited for a more traditional proposal. 

As marketing researchers, we are interested in how wedding rituals are changing in times of broader fights for gender equality. Stories like Juliet’s show how women are now re-shaping wedding rituals, by proposing to their partners. In doing so, they overstep a gendered line which made us wonder: What makes women pop THE question and how are reverse proposal changing wedding rituals? We collected data from social media conversations, forums, and from 22 interviews with women who proposed to understand what does it feel like to conquer one of the last bastions of dominant masculinity. With the help of animation artists Stacy Bias and Clarissa Hanekom, their stories were made into two short films, one about proposal equality and one about whether stealing the thunder creates a storm. Our recent paper published in Gender Work and Organization speaks of how reverse proposals introduce new standards and norms into a highly traditional institution and yet serve it to remain relevant and appear progressive. Further, we discuss the double bind this presents for women who are encouraged by society to formalize their heteronormative relationships through marriage and yet often chastised for initiating this themselves. 

One might wonder about the link between marketing and wedding rituals. Diamond rings have become a common feature of proposals thanks to marketing efforts, and they still dominate popular culture and fantasies around proposals, providing men with a plethora of information on how to choose the perfect ring. However, wedding rituals are changing. On one hand, marriage have become more accessible, with same-sex marriages becoming legal in several countries. On the other, marriage has lost its importance for many heterosexual couples, whose intimate life does not rely on being wedded. Proposals are emblematic of this shift. While the business of proposals is expanding, many jewelleries have catered to male same-sex couples, offering equivalent jewellery such as rainbow diamond rings. However, women wanting to propose find themselves without a script to follow, or a material prop to validate their actions.  

Our findings show that women who propose are overstepping a gendered line. While the majority of our interviewees shared positive experiences, women who propose still run the risk of being labelled as desperate, hopeless and emasculating their partners. Social embarrassment, exclusion, and estrangement for families are some of the backlash faced by women who decide to pop the question. To create new shared imageries, women rely on social media conversations, horizontal support from other women, sharing tips and references to representations of other women proposing in movies and TV series (yes, Monica in Friends). Reverse proposals require a degree of creativity and craftiness, borrowing elements from the more conventional script, such as going down on a knee or asking parents for permission. However, women also reported of how proposals could be occasions to discuss the future rather than surprise their partner, without the need of grand gestures. Proposing women perceived themselves as being equals in relationships characterised by open communication and respect.  

Women proposing are assembling market opportunities and crafting their own scrips, combining more traditional elements with unconventional ones. In doing so, we observe how reverse proposals provide new material to the hetero-romantic script of wedding rituals, rather than overturning them. With women becoming more proactive, the institution of marriage gets a refresh rather than a reboot, as more structural issues on the privileges and inequalities connected to marriage are not considered.  

woman having a video call

How do Remote Workers Perform during COVID-19 Lockdowns?

*This blog is based on our paper published in the Information Technology and People journal.

Dr Xinying Yu | Senior Lecturer | School of Business Management, Royal Holloway, University of London
Prof Yuwen Liu | Professor | Institute of Technology Management, National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan

With the advancement of technology in recent years, researchers have raised great interests in remote working in the business and management fields. Known also as teleworking, telecommuting, e-working, or flexible work arrangements (Morgan, 2004), remote working is defined as a flexible work arrangement in which employees work remotely from their offices or production facilities, employees have no direct contact with colleagues but can connect with them via technology (Di Martino and Wirth, 1990).

During COVID-19 pandemic, remote working has become a popular work arrangement for organisations. The increasing number of remote workers who interact with colleagues and customers using different technologies has exerted physical and psychological demands. Although technology enables work collaboration through video and teleconferencing via web applications and technologies, lack of social contact and face-to-face communication among employees in the virtual environment has been reported to cause feeling of professional isolation (e.g., Chamakiotis et al., 2013). Professional isolation is a situation when a remote worker experiences the perception of being ignored, which could negatively impact upon their well-being and performance, increase loneliness, reduce job satisfaction and may result in social and emotional distress (Marshall et al., 2007; Mulki and Jaramillo, 2011).

Empirical studies investigated the antecedents and outcomes of remote working have drawn mixed results. Some researchers have claimed that remote working with more flexibility, job autonomy and better work-life balance enhances workers’ wellbeing, job performance, job satisfaction and reduces turnover (e.g., Kelliher and Anderson, 2010; ter Hoeven and van Zoonen, 2015). Others, however, have argued that professional isolation may disproportionately leave remote workers out of the loop in office interactions (e.g., Grant et al., 2013; Vega and Brennan, 2000), consequently causing psychological and physical stress and hindering their job engagement and performance (Collins et al., 2016; Xanthopoulou et al., 2009).

Although the isolated remote working condition can be detrimental for employee’s attitudes and behaviors, how employees respond to this may vary greatly. A number of studies have identified that psychological hardiness protect employees against stress (Bartone, 2000; Hystad, 2011). The way that psychological hardiness is more effective in isolated working situation is because it is proved to influence how employees interact with their environment and promote effective coping for stressful situations with individual effort (Maddi, 2005).

This study used web-based questionnaires to collect data from 497 remote workers in financial industry in China during pandemic lockdowns, and aims to examine how remote workers perform. We conclude that perceived professional isolation among remote workers triggers their cynicism attitudes toward the meaningfulness of the job and the value of the organization, and in turn results in decreased task performance. Results of the moderation role of psychological hardiness in the relationship between professional isolation and task performance through cynicism support the propositions that although cynicism is expected to emerge from worker perceptions of isolated work environment characteristics and social interactions, these perceptions are filtered through the lens of personality, namely psychological hardiness, to affect individual work performance.

This study offers some practical implications for managers. First, to handle employees’ feeling of professional isolation and cynical attitude, the fundamental principle for managers is to help employees stay connected and maintain good interpersonal and work relationships while working remotely to limit their feelings of isolation. Online interpersonal and workplace activities can be promoted to effectively collaborate and communicate remote workers. Employee engagement programs can be introduced via online platforms, weekly news roundups, fun competition events and staff support surveys, etc. Social support networks among employees could reduce their perceptions of isolation and increase their confidence in conducting tasks by working through challenges, addressing problems, and building team cohesion.

Second, managers could consider reducing the impact of cynicism to improve job performance by introducing clear HR policy and practice to balance job demands (e.g., work pressure and emotional demands) on employees with job resources needed to deal with these demands (e.g., supervisory and organizational support). For instance, organizations could provide mental and well-being training to alleviate employees’ emotional and psychological distress caused by remote. Supportive managers could allocate manageable workloads, clarify task expectations, grant flexibility and autonomy, and provide timely and constructive performance feedback. Avoiding micromanagement could convey a sense of trust in remote working environments which might contribute to greater job performance.

Furthermore, given that psychological hardiness could be developed rather than inborn and hardy employees are more likely to cope with stressful and uncertain situations than unhardy ones, managers could design hardiness training programs to improve employees’ resilience and reduce burnout levels induced by cynicism. In addition, managers could cultivate an appropriate organizational culture to foster employee hardiness. Employee engagement programs could be used as a useful mechanism to build a hardy organizational culture. Managers should set up an example to develop their own hardiness and encourage a hardy workplace to respond to crises more effectively. Employees should be made aware that change is inevitable in a crisis, rising to the challenge and increasing their hardiness could help them cope with difficult situations.

Despite the limited data from financial industry in China and only individual level variables are included, we believe that this study adds value to the research on remote working in a crisis situation by examining the impact of professional isolation and cynicism on task performance and suggesting psychological hardiness as an important characteristic for employees to face challenging situation with courage and motivation.


Bartone, P.T. (2000), “Hardiness as a resiliency factor for United States forces in the Gulf War”, In J. M. Violanti, D. Paton, and C. Dunning (Eds.), Posttraumatic stress intervention: Challenges, issues and perspectives, Springfield, IL: Charles C Thomas, pp. 115–133.

Chamakiotis, P., Dekoninck, E. A., and Panteli, N. (2013), “Factors influencing creativity in virtual design teams: An interplay between technology, teams and individuals”, Creativity and Innovation Management, Vol.22 No.3, pp.265-279.

Collins, A. M., Hislop, D., and Cartwright, S. (2016), “Social support in the workplace between teleworkers, office-based colleagues and supervisors”, New Technology, Work and Employment, Vol.31 No.2, pp.161-175.

Di Martino, V., & Wirth, L. (1990), “Telework: A new way of working and living”, International Labour Review, Vol.129 No.5, pp. 529–554.

Grant, C. A., Wallace, L. M., and Spurgeon, P. C. (2013), “An exploration of the psychological factors affecting remote e-worker’s job effectiveness, well-being and work-life balance”, Employee Relations, Vol.35, pp.527–546.

Hystad, S. W., Eid, J., and Brevik, J. I. (2011), “Effects of psychological hardiness, job demands, and job control on sickness absence: A prospective study”, Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, Vol.16 No.3, pp.265-278.

Kelliher, C., and Anderson, D. (2010), “Doing more with less? Flexible working practices and the intensification of work”, Human Relations, Vol.63 No.1, pp.83-106.

Maddi, S. R. (2005), “On hardiness and other pathways to resilience”, American Psychologist, Vol.60, pp.261–262.

Marshall, G. W., Michaels, C. E., and Mulki, J. P. (2007), “Workplace isolation: Exploring the construct and its measurement”, Psychology and Marketing, Vol.24 No.3, pp.195-223.

Morgan, R.E. (2004), “Teleworking: an assessment of the benefits and challenges”, European Business Review, Vol. 16 No. 4, pp. 344-357.

Mulki, J.P., and Jaramillo, F. (2011), “Workplace isolation: salespeople and supervisors in USA”, The International Journal of Human Resource Management, Vol. 22 No. 04, pp. 902-923

ter Hoeven, C. L., and van Zoonen, W. (2015), “Flexible work designs and employee well-being: examining the effects of resources and demands”, New Technology, Work and Employment, Vol.30 No.3, pp.237-255.

Vega, R. P., Anderson, A. J., and Kaplan, S. A. (2015), “A within-person examination of the effects of telework”, Journal of Business and Psychology, Vol.30 No.2, pp.313-323.

Xanthopoulou, D., Bakker, A. B., Demerouti, E., and Schaufeli, W. B. (2009), “Reciprocal relationships between job resources, personal resources, and work engagement”, Journal of Vocational Behavior, Vol.74 No.3, pp.235-244.

Cevdet Bulut Receives Best Conference Paper Award

PhD student Cevdet Bulut, along his co-author and supervisor Dr. Philip Wu of Royal Holloway, University of London were recently awarded the Best Complete Paper Award at the annual conference of the Association for Information Systems, AMCIS 2022, held in Minneapolis, MN, United States on August 10-14, 2022.

They were honoured for their paper titled “IoT Adoption in Agriculture: A Systematic Review”, which provides an extensive review of 1355 publications over the last decade, with an aim to highlight the state-of-the-art of research on IoT in agriculture and investigate its slow adoption. The paper as well as the video presentation are both available in the AIS eLibrary. 

In addition to his paper presentation, Cevdet Bulut also chaired a session titled “GIS for Decision Support” at the second day of the Conference.

The Americas Conference on Information Systems (AMCIS), now in its 28th year, is one of the most prestigious international events for information systems scholars. The 2022 edition welcomed more than 600 attendees to Minneapolis, USA and close to 100 virtual attendees across 38 countries. The conference program included 531 papers submitted within 33 conference tracks.

three person looking at x ray result

Fostering Social Value in Digital Transformation Initiatives

By Niki Panteli

DOS Co-Director & Professor of Digital Business, Royal Holloway University of London School of Business and Management (

My contribution centres around the argument that digital transformation can create a better world by taking a broader perspective on the value that could be created though digital initiatives. The study I present here focuses specifically on the use of digital health platforms but the argument can be generalised to other digital transformation initiatives.

Value in new initiatives is not just when something new and novel is created, but rather when these new initiatives are considered worthwhile by others. Despite this conceptualization that is recognized in the literature, value is often thought in terms of economic and financial terms, while other types of values such as social value that refers to generating worthwhile impact on specific social groups and the wider society had only attracted limited attention. For this we carried out a study of a digital health platform and sought to examine what kind of social value if at all can be linked to these initiatives.

The study involved MedicineAfrica, a digital platform that was founded in 2008 by a small group of health professionals in the UK with the aim to provide healthcare education to junior and trainee doctors and medical students in fragile, post war countries and regions such as Somaliland, Iraq, Palestine and Afghanistan. MedicineAfrica is based on the voluntary contributions of professional medics primarily in the UK but also Germany with the only paid staff being an administrator and an IT person. The tutorials are online in real time often taking place on Sunday afternoon and until very recently the interactions between tutors and tutees have been text based only. At the time of the study, MedicineAfrica had expanded the number of programmes, courses and countries that it covered, had around 100 volunteers and more than 1000 users/tutees who were benefiting from the educational support of the platform. Therefore, we can confidently say that this represented a successful digital initiative.

In our study, we interviewed a number of people involved with the platform including the founder, managers, volunteers and tutees. We also carried out observation of online tutorials and interactions and had access to a series of documents that gave us further insight on the platform.

An intriguing early finding from the study was about the reasons that made the volunteer doctors not just to join but also to stay with the platform and contribute to its success and growth. The infographic presented here shows a trajectory of the volunteers’ commitment growing over time. Initial reasons and motives for joining included an opportunity to practise new skills and adding these on their CV, making good use of their free time, and giving something back to their home countries especially among immigrant and refugees doctors based in the UK. Over time, the motives changed and the commitment has grown. The tutors talked about the opportunity given to them to learn from their tutees as well as a sense of fulfilment when they spend time on the platform. As a result, they showed commitment to the platform and what the platform stood for; they developed a sense of community and a willingness to undertake additional roles and lead new initiatives on the platform.

Further analysis pointed to evidence of value created for the wider good and different social groups. Different types of social value emerged from the findings.

Cognitive value concerns the transfer of medical knowledge in order to improve clinical practice, to improve patients treatment and healthcare overall.

Professional value is linked to the opportunity provided by the digital platform for the continuous education and development of the professional medics themselves as well as opportunity for networking among the medics themselves.

Epistemic value develops by gaining new knowledge that contribute to publications, and advancing the medical field in general and beyond the specific countries involved.

What the study has shown is that she success of a platform such as MedicineAfrica depends on the connectivity potentials of technology to bring people together regardless of their location, to enable them to work as a collective and develop that important sense of community, and also on the growing commitment of their users especially the volunteers. Together these contribute towards the social value creation and the different types of social value that we have seen in the study.

The blog draws from my contribution to the PDW  ‘Is Digital Transformation Creating a Better World – An International collaboration between academics and managers’, at the 82nd Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management 2022 (August 4-10, 2022, Seattle)’. The full study upon which this presentation is based was published in Information Systems Journal with Petros Chamakiotis and Dimitra Petrakaki in 2021.

Full Reference:

Chamakiotis, P., Petrakaki, D., & Panteli, N. (2021). Social value creation through digital activism in an online health community. Information Systems Journal31(1), 94-119.

woman applying facial mask clay with a brush in front of mirror

It’s all part of the customer journey: The impact of augmented reality, chatbots, and social media on the body image and self-esteem of Generation Z female consumers

By Nisreen Ameen

In a recently published study (Ameen, Cheah and Kumar, 2022) in Psychology and Marketing, we investigate how experiences of using augmented reality, artificial intelligence-enabled chatbots, and social media when interacting with beauty brands affect body image, self-esteem, and purchase behaviour among female consumers in Generation Z. Through three studies, we propose and test a model drawing on social comparison theory. In Study 1, a survey was completed by Generation Z women (n = 1,118). In Study 2 and Study 3, two laboratory experiments were conducted with Generation Z women in Malaysia (n = 250 and n = 200). We show that (1) Generation Z women’s perceived augmentation positively affects their body image, self-esteem, and actual purchase behaviour; (2) although trust in social media celebrities positively affects Generation Z women’s body image and self-esteem, the addictive use of social media does not have significant effects; (3) the chatbot support type (assistant vs friend) has a significant impact on these women’s experience; and (4) brand attachment, reputation, and awareness do not have significant effects. This article provides important implications for theory and practice on the behaviour of Generation Z females when interacting with various technologies.

Reference: Ameen, N., Cheah, J., and Kumar, S. (2022). It’s all part of the customer journey: The impact of augmented reality, chatbots, and social media on the body image and self-esteem of Generation Z female consumers. Psychology and Marketing,

The growth of rental proptech: hybridisation and data risk

By Thomas Wainwright

What’s the issue?

UK homeownership rates peaked in 2003 at 70.9%, before falling to 63.9% in 20181. A combination of precarious work, stagnant pay and increasing property prices have seen more households find themselves within the private rental sector (PRS). In contrast to other countries, the UK’s rental market is fragmented, consisting of many small scale landlords and a smaller, but increasing proportion of institutional landlords. For example, MHCLG’s last private landlord survey in 2018 revealed that 45% of private landlords in England own just one property, with 38% owning between 2-4 properties2. While the PRS remains an important part of UK accommodation provision, it has faced criticism, focussing on ‘rogue’ landlords, unprofessional management and high costs, partly resulting in the Tenant Fees Act (2019), which banned tenant fees3 and inadvertently boosted demand for rental proptech – to which we will return later. Further calls have been made for mandatory landlord registration to combat issues concerning low quality accommodation4 and while demand for PRS accommodation continues, so will calls for change. One set of actors responding to these calls are the entrepreneurs behind rental proptech platforms who are seeking to disrupt and re-shape the PRS for renters, landlords and letting agents.

What’s going on?

Property technology, or proptech, refers broadly to a diverse range of new entrepreneurial start-ups that focus on the increased use of data, interconnectivity, automation, and technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), algorithms and blockchain, to solve a variety of issues related to property management. As a sub-sector, rental proptech focusses exclusively on – unsurprisingly – the rental sector.

Rental proptech has grown rapidly since the 2008 GFC. The start-ups are diverse, but generally seek to digitally mediate the relationship between landlords, tenants, letting agents and other suppliers, capturing fees and access to new sources of data for marketing, analysis, and to calculate risk. Rental proptech seeks to make the market easier to navigate for tenants. For example, making it easier to remotely book and undertake viewings, or to manage the check-in and out of property through apps, rather than a series of paper forms. Some platforms provide added transparency too, seeking to bar ‘rogue’ landlords and to reward outstanding landlords with greater market visibility and ratings. Landlords are able to access a broader market of renters through online-only letting agents, for example, cutting costs and enabling them to self-service administrative work through automated technology. For letting agents, the technology has also removed much of the administrative back office work. For some, this has been a lifesaver, following the Tenant Fees Act and the loss of application fees, as it enabled high-street agents to adopt rental proptech and to automate their processes, cutting costs.

The UK’s proptech market is arguably world-leading, given the scale of its creativity and innovation, with access to venture capital funds providing considerable potential for growth. In mediating relationships between letting agents and tenants, for example, rental proptech platforms have the opportunity to charge fees and profit from both types of client in this multi-sided market, while cross-selling other products and earning commissions. While tenancy durations vary across different markets within the UK, estimates suggest households stay at a property on average between 18 months5 and 4.1 years6. Towards the shorter end of tenancies, this mobility or churn creates more regular revenue earning opportunities, when compared to property sales, for example.

Given the size of the PRS and its fragmentation, there are opportunities to structure and organise the market through these platforms. In recognising the potential of rental proptech, considerable flows of investment are moving into the sector fuelling its growth, with specialist investment from Pi Labs, Round Hill Ventures and A/O Proptech, for example, with many deals detailed on Unissu.

Digital disruption in the PRS

Rental proptech start-ups are diverse. For example, they include apps that seek to compete with and directly challenge high-street letting agents (Howsy), digital management for letting agents (AskPorter), provide regulatory and compliance support for landlords (Kamma), tenant bill splitting (The Bunch), digital referencing and passporting (Goodlord) and managing the departure of tenants and return of their deposits (The Depositary).

In curating multi-sided markets, rental proptech promises solutions to all parties. Lower costs for landlords, which can mitigate pressures from tax changes regarding SDLT and mortgage interest tax relief. Rental proptech has enabled letting agents to reduce their administrative workload, enabling them to focus their efforts and time on negotiating tenancies and finding new business. For small and medium-sized agencies who simply do not have the capacity to develop their own in-house tech solutions, refocussing their business and outsourcing routine time-consuming tasks provides a considerable benefit.

Renters are able to benefit from a series of improvements, focussed mainly on convenience, For example, through automated check-in and out processes on their phone including deposit reclaim, setting-up and splitting utility bills, and reassurance on some platforms that landlords have been more thoroughly vetted. While rental proptech has not made renting directly cheaper for tenants, following the Tenant Fee Act, in using proptech to reduce costs, this has, in some cases, mitigated the need for agents to increase management fees for landlords, which in turn would be passed into tenants in the form of higher rents.

Sector maturity, hybridisation and consolidation

Rental proptech businesses initially could be seen as pure disruptors to the PRS, seeking to act as direct competitors to high-street estate agents. However, as highlighted above, they are increasingly partnering with established high-street agents, seeing the latter become hybridised – not proptech agencies, but increasingly heavier uses of data-driven tech. Routine and unprofitable functions are being unbundled from agency business models, replaced with rental proptech as it enters the mainstream.

The market is also beginning to consolidate. While rental proptech began with businesses focussing on one problem or difficulty in the PRS, as identified or experienced by the venture teams, they have begun to diversify their product offering. First, to develop additional revenues, for example, through AI driven tenant management or digital referencing, but also as the rental proptech sector focusses on convenience and ease of use. Using several different products from several different firms each with a particular focus is not convenient to clients. As such, rental proptech start-up product portfolios have begun to increasingly overlap, leading to greater competition.

This has seen the development of mergers and acquisitions in the sector. For example, Goodlord acquired Vouch in 2020 to gain tenant referencing capabilities and Acasa in 2021 to gain its tenant bill splitting applications7. Partnerships will no doubt become more important, but the result in the foreseeable future may well be a smaller number of larger and more comprehensive rental proptech firms seeking to cover all parts of the rental value chain. As they provide more comprehensive solutions to high-street agents, the latter may be hollowed out further to focus exclusively on relationship management as hybridisation becomes the norm. While Rightmove and Zoopla may be the property search engines of the sector, new competitors may well come to dominate the market, but in servicing a digital PRS and facilitating the moves of renters.

Emerging digital risks

Rental proptech is underpinned by the novel use of new technologies. However, this raises a series of new risks and issues that could impact on businesses, tenants and the wider market. These risks should be considered, and where necessary, mitigated. As start-ups expand for survival, they focus on client acquisition and revenue growth and it is unsurprising that data risks are not fully considered. From the research, some key risks are apparent – their mitigations are examined in more detail in the accompanying ‘think piece’ [here].

Rental proptech is drawing on ever more detailed personal data through APIs, particularly through open banking. Some of the ways in which this data could be used poses ethical questions, particularly if it could lead to discrimination against particular groups of renters, even if this is unintentional. Not only does this pose ethical risks against tenants, but also reputational and revenue risks that can affect specific businesses, and the broader sector. Just because data is available for use, does not necessarily mean it should be used without thorough justification and an assessment of its potential impacts.

This can also extend to data that renters may self-input. Using apps, tenants can be encouraged to provide more data than perhaps they would provide on paper forms, as the processes is much easier. However, tenants may not fully understand how the data will be used, and may not be comfortable with its function if they knew. More transparency is needed over why data is required, as while consent may be given, it may not necessarily be fully informed.

There are also emerging issues of data equity. For example, some types of data sources may be used in algorithms, which is not available for all renters. For instance, some local authorities provide data on noise complaints in tenant referencing, but not all. This creates a data asymmetry in that some tenants, using a nation-wide rental proptech platform, may be penalised, while others are not, based on the availability/absence of data, rather than actual activity.

Moving from data and turning to the analytical technologies, AI is known for replicating racism, sexism and ableism, based on biases within the data from which they learn8. While this reflects discrimination and bias within society, decisions made using flawed AI can reinforce, replicate and expand discrimination. Similarly, the design of algorithms can encode and replicate unintended results that reinforce discrimination. This creates substantial ethical issues that translate into business risk. While the discrimination may be unintentional, flawed technology can be problematic if left unchecked.

Finally, rental proptech platforms often appear to focus on a particular target market, often of young, urban, professional and mobile renters. While this issue is not technological in itself, products are designed around the needs of these particular renters, which may exclude other types of renter, or may accommodate their needs less effectively. As rental proptech continues to expand and be adopted by more high-street agents, it may be at the detriment of different renter demographics. As such, further work needs to be undertaken to understand how rental proptech affects, is used and adopted by different renter types.

What next – new opportunities?

So far, rental proptech start-ups are focussing on working with smaller landlords and letting agents within the UK’s PRS ecosystem. It’s likely that this trend will continue, with the technology becoming more mainstream amongst high-street agents. Potential opportunities may emerge through coordinated M&A activity to create more full-service rental proptech groups. This could be driven by venture capital funding, or by larger national agencies seeking to develop their own tech platforms and move further into the digital space.

Rental proptech activity is currently limited in the institutional build-to-rent (BTR) sector. However, the BTR arms of pension funds and vertically integrated developers are growing. In addition to housing associations, these landlords could prove to be a new market. The operations of institutional investors are driven by interest around yield. To date, there appears to have been limited interest in rental proptech by institutional BTR sector as is not seen as being able to add sufficient value to the rental experience, or in cutting operational costs, to increase yields. It may be that rental proptech is introduced to these landlords through managing agents and facilities managers, rather than by the landlords themselves.

In the US, proptech has been used to streamline the valuation, surveying, acquisition and management of single family home rentals, to be bundled directly into private equity-backed investment portfolios. Proptech is used to manage asset maintenance, but to also outsource management work from agents and landlords onto tenants using technology, to reduce costs further. While these models and practices have not yet emerged in the UK, existing rental proptech technologies may be deployed for new uses.

As highlighted earlier, while the propositions of rental proptech have the potential to disrupt and enhance the PRS, driving convenience, efficiency and profitability, risks surrounding the use of data at the centre of these technologies remain. These risks need to be considered carefully by the sector and some suggestions and mitigations are outlined in the associated think piece.

Further information

Methodology: The data collected to underpin this research project consisted of expert interviews with 30 prominent actors within the UK’s rental proptech and real estate sector. This was supported through secondary resources and publically available materials.

Resources: RED think piece – What could a Tenant Data Charter look like in the rental proptech sector?

Funding: British Academy – Tackling the UK’s International Challenges

Acknowledgements: Comments from reviewers are much appreciated in clarifying and augmenting the key points raised in earlier drafts

Dr Thomas Wainwright is Reader in Strategy and Entrepreneurship. Tom completed his first degree at the University of Leicester and holds an MSc from the University of Nottingham. He completed his ESRC funded PhD in 2009 (University of Nottingham) where he investigated the development of new strategies and innovations in the financial services sector. Tom then worked at the University of Nottingham on projects that examined wholesale-retail bank linkages and wealth management. In 2010, he began a Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Small Business Research Centre at Kingston University, where he worked on consultancy projects for Barclays Bank and other stakeholders, such as Eurofound. Tom joined the University of Southampton in 2012 and became Senior Lecturer in 2014, before becoming Associate Professor and Director of the Centre for Innovation and Enterprise.










Crafting IT jobs through the Flexibility of Contracting: Opportunities for Female IT Professionals

By Niki Panteli

In a recently published study (Panteli and Urquhart, 2022),  we explore the job crafting experiences of women who left permanent employment for contracting positions in Information Technology (IT),  a sector widely considered male-dominated with limited career opportunities for women.  This qualitative study is based on interviews with 24 female IT contractors. Findings show that through the flexibility and autonomy that comes with contracting, numerous crafting practices are adopted by female IT contractors enabling them to gain empowerment in a male-dominated environment.  The study contributes in depth understanding of job crafting theory by showing a reflexive relationship between role and resource crafting for women in alternative forms of employment,  especially those with a high degree of autonomy.  By engaging directly with the experiences of these women IT contractors, we provide unique insights into what might drive women into IT contracting, and why they often stay with this option owing to the freedom and autonomy offered.  

The Infographic below captures the key findings of the study. Further Information can be found in:
Panteli N. and Urquhart C. (2022), Job Crafting among Female Contractors in a Male dominated Environment, New Technology, Work and Employment, 37, 1, 102-123,

Niki Panteli (PhD) is a Professor of Digital Business at the School of Business and Management, Department of Digital Innovation and Management & co-Director of DOS (Digital Organisations and Society) Research Centre at Royal Holloway, University of London. She can be contacted by email: