Government Workers’ Stories about Professional Development in a Digitalized Working Life
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In this article, we explore workers’ stories about digitalization of work and professional development. The data (101 stories) were collected from 81 Finnish government workers through the method of empathy-based stories (MEBS). MEBS is a qualitative data collection method in which participants write short imaginary texts based on an introductory script (frame story) designed by the researcher. In this study, participants were presented with two frame stories in which they were asked to imagine why digitalization had either supported or hindered professional development. The stories were analyzed inductively using qualitative thematic analysis. The findings illustrate the double-edged nature of digitalization, as it may both support and hinder professional development and learning by changing work tasks, work practices and knowledge development and management. Overall, the stories revealed that the participants perceived that digitalization may support professional development and learning, especially by providing opportunities for job control in terms of flexibility, and new ways for knowledge development and management.