Datafication in public self-services – Hidden agendas on data providing systems in employment services: Paper presentation

Research output: Other conference contributionScientific


In the Nordic countries, the boundary between public and private has become obscure when public services are provided in this borderland. In the digitalization of services, the heterogenous assemblages of actors who design new technologies become shapers of society. In this paper, we ask what kind of administrative and economic interests actors have in the digitalization of employment services and how different technological, political, economic, and legislative boundaries and conditions guide actors in the service design. Drawing on actor-network theories and the recent discussions of datafication, we examine how these actors, implement and benefit the state's fast-paced digitization and digitalization policy through employment services. Based on the analysis of the expert interviews, we present preliminary observations about the expectations, goals, needs, interests, tensions, uncertainties, and ignorance of the public and private sector actors related to the service design, data acquisition and processing. The public sector actors are interested in data produced as a deliverable of employment services to foresee employment prospects. However, digital self-services meet the needs of jobseekers poorly. The private software companies, again, strive for wider access and utilisation of the public data pools and data consented by the data subjects while being conditioned by the legislation and identification standards. Their promise is to inform individual decision-making, but the motivation is to profit by providing platforms to personnel management of companies. Thus, the public, private and individual intermingle in the datafication processes resulting in equivocal interpretations of its value and beneficiaries and challenging the understanding of data ethics.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jun 2023
Publication typeNot Eligible
Event6th Nordic STS Conference : Disruption and repair in and beyond STS - University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
Duration: 7 Jun 20239 Jun 2023


Conference6th Nordic STS Conference
Internet address


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