up2date. Das Onlinemagazin der Universtiät Bremen

Teamwork of the Future

Teaching staff and students of the chair of Business Psychology and Human Resource Management have published a book on “Human Autonomy Teaming.”

Teaching & Studies

“Siri, what’s the weather like today?” or “Alexa, what time is it?” have become commonplace questions for many people. This is the kind of teamwork between humans and technology investigated by students of behavioral economics. The project is headed by business psychologist Professor Vera Hagemann and her research assistant Michèle Rieth. The researchers and their students have jointly published the e-book “Human Autonomy Teaming.”

Research-Based Learning in Times of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic posed special challenges for teaching staff like Vera Hagemann and Michèle Rieth. In the context of their behavioral economics project module at the chair of Business Psychology and Human Resource Management, the business psychologists have decided for a concept, which combines teaching and research. Together with their students, they wrote and published a book on the topic “Human Autonomy Teaming – Teamwork of the Future.”

“Usually, for this module, we collaborate with businesses. Students thereby closely examine issues relevant to the company within a research project. Now, we had to come up with a new idea and decided for the book project,” says Michèle Rieth, who has been a PhD student and research assistant at the Faculty for Business Studies & Economics since 2018.

Human Autonomy Teaming – Teamwork of the Future

The topic of the seminar was soon found: Human Autonomy Teaming. “It is a highly relevant topic, driven by technological advances in machine learning and Artificial Intelligence,” explains Vera Hagemann. According to the professor, team and automation research in recent years has been increasingly devoted to this area. However, this has not yet been sufficiently taken up in German-speaking countries, which is something the new book is intending to do.

But what actually is a Human Autonomy Team? Such a team consists of at least one person and one technical entity – the so-called autonomous agent – who work together interdependently in order to successfully complete a common task. Nowadays, technical systems are no longer viewed as pure tools, but can increasingly act independently as team members.

The students Jasper Wagner and Jessica Schröder with a humanoid robot: Collaboration between humans and technology is becoming increasingly important.
© Michèle Rieth / Universität Bremen

Different groups of students dealt with the various aspects of this topic, such as human and technological requirements for this new form of teamwork, current fields of application, and future developments of Human Autonomy Teaming. The contents of the chapters were discussed and reflected upon together during the seminar. Additionally, one group of students each worked on the topics of layout, design, editing, citation, and publishing – a true team project.

Teamwork on Teamwork

“Because of the close collaboration between us students and our lecturers we were able to write and publish our book working from home in times of COVID-19. We increasingly focused on reading English journal articles and conducting digital interviews with experts and company representatives. This project proves convincingly that, despite the pandemic restrictions, research and teamwork can continue to take place at the University of Bremen,” says Mark Sturhann, a participant in the seminar, looking back on the project work with pride. His fellow student Simon-Tolga Sambale agrees that the comparatively high effort of the project module proved worthwhile for everyone involved: “Writing the e-book was a unique opportunity to take an in-depth look at a relevant topic on the future world of work while also gaining research experience.”

The Bremen State and University Library (SuUB) supported the publication process of the project. “The open-access team members were very impressed by the motivation and determination of the students and would be happy to support similar projects in the future,” says Benjamin Ahlborn from the SuUB. The cost for a small print run was covered by the Bremen Fund to supporting research-based learning in the digital winter semester 2020/21. The online version is available open access via the library-operated document server.


The “Human Autonomy Teaming” publication is available here (in German only):

Human Autonomy Teaming - Die Teamarbeit der Zukunft

zurück back

Also interesting…

Universität Bremen