Automation is causing ‘high levels of conflict’ on the shop floor not between management and trade unions, but between those who operate machines manually and those who supervise computer-operated machines – according to a report published today. The study says “this new phenomenon may be changing the nature of industrial relations”.

The applied psychologist who wrote the report claims that in introducing automation, firms spend 90% of their effort on technical and financial issues and less than 10% on the human and organisational ones. He accused firms of “lack of communication and 10 failure to offer chances for participation”.

“An increasing trend is for management to involve human resource specialists at the strategic planning stage,” he explained. “The differences between old and new methods can become very wide if technology is not viewed as a partnership between man and machine,” 15 he added. He also argues that “more attention needs to be paid to job redesign, machinery layout, training and bonuses for those who possess special skills.”

One of the surprising conclusions of this report, however, is that “original fears that automation would bring about widespread loss of 20 jobs have been reduced over time.”


Mark the best choice.

1. Line 2, ‘those’ and, line 3, ‘those’ both refer to .

a) managers b) trade unions c) workers d) computers

2. Line 5, ‘this new phenomenon’ refers to .

a) automation b) conflict among workers c) the report published today d) industry

3. The result of the survey shows that .

a) the human and organisational issues in automation have been considered carefully

b) many firms communicated well with the workers and offered them chance: for participation

c) industrial relations will get worse because of automation

d) most of the effort in introducing automation is put on technical and financial issues


4. People were worried about automation at the beginning because they thought .

a) they weren’t skilled enough to use the machines

b) people would be replaced by machines

c) their income would be reduced

d) more attention would be paid to training

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