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Call for papers – XVI International Conference in Commemoration of Professor Marco Biagi

Assessing Worker Performance in a Changing Technological and Societal Environment: an Interdisciplinary and Multifaceted Perspective


Modena, 19-21 March 2018
Marco Biagi Foundation, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia



Deadline for submission of expressions of interest: 20 July 2017

Deadline for submission of extended abstracts:  13 October 2017

Deadline for submission of full papers: 31 January 2018

Download the Call

Historic societal changes are taking place in the global scenario, and their impact on the world of work is clearly perceived by its actors and practitioners. Researchers and policy-makers are currently facing the task of devising effective analytical tools and providing solutions to the problems and the challenges arising from the new structural patterns taking shape.

Technological transformations, in particular the “Fourth Industrial Revolution”, are producing far-reaching adaptations, if not a deep conversion, of models of production and work organization. These effects give rise to the need to rethink the relationship between the factors of production. As far as workers are concerned, the implications are uncertain, increasing their formal autonomy from standardized practices but also their dependency on digital processes with an impact on every phase of the performance of work, from the definition of tasks to monitoring and assessment. Due to the trends of downsizing, mergers, and decentralization, as well as the blurring of boundaries in employer-employee-customer relationships, new models for the organization and assessment of work performance have emerged (constant feedback; electronic performance monitoring and appraisal, ratings and rankings).

At the same time, a series of anthropological and geopolitical phenomena, including significant migratory flows, have increased the complexity of societies. This is mirrored in the changing patterns of internal labour markets and workplace organization, with ambiguous implications in terms of risks and opportunities. While it is widely acknowledged that diversity can serve as a factor generating innovation and wealth, multiculturalism entails the need to facilitate integration and prevent the segregation of minorities, against a background characterized by long-term issues relating to gender discrimination and disadvantaged employment. The workplace becomes the site of engagement between personal, cultural, religious, demographic, economic and social claims that need to be reconciled, without losing sight of the broader principles of citizenship within political communities.

The performance of work and the way it is assessed provide a useful perspective from which these patterns can be examined. Recent changes have had a significant impact on work performance, breaking down the previous, standardized, yet already problematic, models and categories and emphasizing the individual characteristics and personal implications for each worker involved in the production process.

The way work is organized and performed; the means to appraise its value; the guarantee of rights while assessing the fulfilment of the obligations on which the work performance is based; the integration of performance in complex and often dematerialized or virtual organizations, the interaction and interdependencies between individuals and groups within and outside organizations with a diverse workforce. All of these elements are part of the changing social environment, and each one calls for an effort to update the interpretative categories and the regulatory solutions, taking into account the web of manifold interests that converge on these issues, at times overlapping, at times conflicting.

Against this backdrop, there is a need to establish an integrated framework of knowledge, construct a sound taxonomy of the phenomena under examination, evaluate their impact, outline future perspectives and put forward a comprehensive set of policy proposals.

In order to move the discussion forward, encourage the exchange of views and promote an interdisciplinary debate, the conference will seek contributions from the international scholarly community on topics concerning the assessment of worker performance in a changing social environment from the perspective of the main actors and stakeholders involved, i.e.:

  • The Company
  • The Worker
  • Public Authorities
  • Customers



Participants who intend to contribute a paper to one of the conference tracks should submit an expression of interest by 20 July 2017 with:

  • the title of the proposed paper;
  • a brief description of about 150 words (not including the bibliography), that should outline the topic and highlight the nature of the paper (theoretical analysis, discussion paper, presentation of empirical data, and so on);
  • the disciplinary (or inter-disciplinary) domain of the paper (e.g. Labour Law, Organization Theory, Labour Economics);
  • the author’s affiliation;
  • an indication of the conference track the paper for which the paper is intended. In this respect, the Organizing Committee reserves the right to assign papers to the track and session they consider to be most appropriate.

Expressions of interest will selected by the Organizing Committee by 1 September 2017.

Selected authors will be invited to present an extended abstract (2000 words, bibliography excluded) no later than 13 October 2017. Abstracts should include a brief discussion of the results and conclusions of the paper.

Extended abstracts will be selected by the Organizing Committee by 30 October 2017.

Selected authors will be required to submit a paper of 8000 – 10000 words no later than 31 January 2018. The papers should present a complete piece of research rather than simply the description of work in progress.

In cases in which it is not possible to accommodate all the contributions in the plenary or parallel sessions, the Organizing Committee may offer authors the opportunity to present their work in the poster sessions.

The Organizing Committee reserves the right to refuse full papers that are not consistent with the conference tracks or with the expression of interest/full abstract previously approved.

The Organizing Committee will select the contributions to be included, after revision, in the conference proceedings to be published in 2019 by an international publisher. By submitting their final papers, the authors agree to the publication of their paper in the proceedings in case of acceptance by the Organizing Committee, in compliance with the no-multiple-submissions rule.

The working language of the conference sessions is English, and no interpreting services will be available. Abstracts and papers should be submitted in English.



Prof. Tindara Addabbo (University of Modena and Reggio Emilia), Prof. Edoardo Ales (University of Cassino and Southern Lazio), Dr. Ylenia Curzi (University of Modena and Reggio Emilia), Prof. Tommaso Fabbri (University of Modena and Reggio Emilia), Dr. Olga Rymkevich (Marco Biagi Foundation), Dr. Iacopo Senatori (Marco Biagi Foundation), Dr. Carlotta Serra (Marco Biagi Foundation), Prof. Giovanni Solinas (University of Modena and Reggio Emilia)


Prof. Marina Orlandi Biagi (Marco Biagi Foundation, Chair), Prof. Tindara Addabbo (University of Modena and Reggio Emilia), Prof. Edoardo Ales (University of Cassino and Southern Lazio), Prof. Francesco Basenghi (University of Modena and Reggio Emilia), Prof. Janice Bellace (The Wharton School, Philadelphia), Prof. Susan Bisom-Rapp (Thomas Jefferson School of Law, San Diego), Prof. Tommaso Fabbri (University of Modena and Reggio Emilia), Prof. Luigi E. Golzio (University of Modena and Reggio Emilia), Prof. F. Hendrickx (University of Leuven, Belgium), Prof. Csilla Kollonay-Lehoczky (Central European University, Budapest), Prof. Alan Neal (University of Warwick), Prof. Jacques Rojot (University of Paris II Panthéon-Assas), Prof.  Yasuo Suwa (Hosei University), Prof. Tiziano Treu (Catholic University of Milan), Prof. Manfred Weiss (J.W. Goethe University, Frankfurt-am-Main)


Expressions of interest, abstracts and full papers, as well as the requests of information, should be addressed to:
Iacopo Senatori (Researcher, Marco Biagi Foundation): iacopo.senatori@unimore.it

The first draft of the conference programme will be distributed by the end of January 2018.

Further information will be posted on the Marco Biagi Foundation website www.fmb.unimore.it