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Adam Seth Litwin

Associate Professor of Industrial and Labor Relations

Industrial & Labor Relations School


Employment & Social Sustainability

Technological Change at Work

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Computers and digital technologies including robotics, machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), internet-enabled platforms, and other “high-tech” drivers of automation have revolutionized the nature and organization of work in the U.S., with material implications for workers and their families, among others.  This upper-level seminar begins with a rhetorical inquiry into whether and when the technological change engendered by digitization and the so-called “Information Technology (IT) Revolution” benefits workers.  We then consider the broader impact of recent technological advances on manufacturing and fabrication, low- and semi-skilled service work, i.e., restaurant servers and bus drivers, and even on expert and professional work like that to which most of you presumably aspire.  Among the central themes is the notion that technology does not unilaterally act upon workers, their employers, or society-at-large.  Rather, workers, managers, customers, institutions, and policymakers shape which advances take hold and which do not, the ways that these technologies are deployed in the workplace, and the ways that society can actively mitigate the costs to technological advancement while harnessing its benefits. 


"Professor Litwin’s teaching advances the ILR School’s growing focus on technology and the future of work. He enables students to understand implications for workers, managers, customers, institutions and policymakers. Students study technology design and how theory is applied to workplace practices in ways that affect workers of all skill levels. This course is a window into how the reconfiguration of work can serve workers, employers, organizations and society at large."

- Kevin Hallock

ILR School Kenneth F. Kahn '69 Dean and Joseph R. Rich Professor




Adam Seth Litwin

Adam Seth Litwin is Associate Professor of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell’s ILR School.  Litwin’s research, anchored in industrial relations, examines the determinants and impact of labor relations structures and technological change.  He has published a mix of empirical and conceptual studies intersecting the areas of labor relations and technological change, in both industrial relations and medical journals, including the Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Industrial Relations, the British Journal of Industrial Relations, Advances in Industrial and Labor Relations, Human Resource Management, Applied Clinical Informatics, and the International Review of Psychiatry.  At Cornell, he teaches undergraduate and graduate core courses in labor relations as well as electives focused on the evolution and impact of technological change on workers, organizations, and society-at-large.  Litwin joined Cornell’s ILR faculty in the fall of 2014 after serving as a standing faculty member at Johns Hopkins University, where he held appointments in the Carey Business School and the School of Medicine.