IT professional’s perceptions of Robotics, Artificial Intelligence and Automation (RAIA) as a source of job satisfaction and job insecurity in the IT sector

Mashego, Palesa Precious
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In the twenty-first century, robotics, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, and automation (RAIA) have touched every element of human life. RAIA technology provides a wide range of possibilities, which companies and people can take advantage of. Every opportunity, however, comes with a risk. The issues that come with technology have been noted within the RAIA sphere as having the potential to disrupt the labour market in ways we do not yet comprehend. The expanding use of temporary employment, as well as the increasing rate of organizational change and expectations for work-life flexibility, are seen as indicators of a more insecure workforce. Professionals tend to be more concerned about the rise of automated and self-sufficient robots, with some fearing that technological advancements will eliminate their jobs. There is a substantial amount of work on the implications of RAIA on the labour market, specifically on the influence of RAIA technology on technical unemployment and how such technology may contribute to job dissatisfaction. However, there is a scarcity of research on the perceptions of RAIA technologies and the effects thereof on job insecurity and job satisfaction within the South African IT industry. As a result, the objective of this research was to gain a better understanding of IT professionals' perspectives on RAIA technology and the mediating role that job insecurity plays in job satisfaction. The research design was deductive and quantitative in nature. Data was collected using a survey methodology and employed a structured questionnaire instrument. The sample consisted of 290 participants from the South African IT sector. Correlation analysis was performed, and measures were tested for reliability and validity prior to testing the hypothesised model. The model was tested using regression techniques and the results showed that there was a statistically significantly positive association between the perception of RAIA (PR) and job insecurity (JI). Furthermore, it was proven that there was a statistically significant negative total effect for perceived RAIA and job satisfaction. The research proved that the effect of the perceptions of RAIA technology on Job Satisfaction is indeed mediated by Job Insecurity. This research provides an alternative context to the existing research as it moves away from looking at the effects of technology but rather focuses on the perceptions of II technology. Not only does the research investigate perception but it provides a lens into the views of IT professionals. The practical implications of the study may influence both employees and employers to respectively understand how RAIA technologies affect existing labour market conditions.
A research report submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Commerce in the Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management at the University of the Witwatersrand, 2022