Smart working in Italian Public Administration: A Socio-Technical Approach

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In the last decades, new ways of job organization, like remote working, have been introduced to satisfy the need to rethink, redefine and redesign the organization of work in terms of nature, content, and responsibilities. In 2020, due to the pandemic emergency generated by SARS-CoV-2 (commonly known as Covid-19) and the policies to limit the mobility to contain the contagion, the diffusion of these new forms of work accelerated considerably. The evolution of work practices provides an exemplar use case of social and technical disruption. The principles of a Socio-Technical System (STS) are a compass to interpret the transformation of technology, processes, tasks, organizational culture, goals, and people. Adopting a STS approach, this paper aims to shed light on the impact of remote working (often called agile or smart working) in Public Administrations (PAs). A multi case analysis is conducted by coding diaries written by heads of staff and IT executives involved in the process of remote working implementation in three Italian PAs. Aspects related to organization, job design, tasks, and workers’ behavior have been analyzed.