For Giedo Jansen, Assistant Professor for European Public Administration, it is only logical to fuse public administration and technology. From the hunting and gathering societies to the first industrial revolution up until today: technologies have shaped the way in which human societies function ever since. Nevertheless, according to the sociologist and political scientist we are living in extraordinary times. ‘The current technological developments have the potential to change societies perhaps as dramatically as for example the steam engine did during the first industrial revolution, rapidly changing power structures and inducing new political conflicts between what then were the working classes and the ruling classes. Some people nowadays even speak of the fourth industrial revolution’.
Combining different technologies is powerful
Assumed that we are in a revolution right now, what is the technological development that shapes us in a way the steam engine did during the first industrial revolution? ‘I think it is the integration of already existing technologies, this is what people who use the term 4th industrial revolution are speaking of, that all the digital technologies, biological technologies, and the more physical technologies are integrated. The combination thereof has the power to be quite influential on the way we organize things.’
‘The whole public administration domain has to deal with certain technological changes’
Giedo Jansen suggests that technology nowadays plays an even larger role than ever before. At the same time, he observes that public organizations, especially governments, have fallen behind when it comes to current technological developments. Students of European Public Administration will be trained to fill this gap and gain the knowledge that the new generation of public professionals needs in order to be prepared for the labor market. ‘Not only politicians, but also labor unions and public organizations, the whole public administration domain has to deal with certain technological changes. The new generation of public professionals should be more knowledgeable about technology in general and especially about how technology links up to problems that the public sector has to address.’
Students will conduct research projects and compare different countries
In the program module offered by Jansen, the students will look at technology and the public sector from a country perspective. How do different countries deal with technologies and how does this shape the way in which they make policies? The students will conduct research projects and address such questions, for example with regard to the implications of technology for the restructuring of work. ‘If you look at the rise of robots, that means that work is changing. It means that there is increasingly less work in some respects, which puts pressure on labor markets or societal well-being, which is a challenge for people who make economic policies or represent people in labor unions’.
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