Skip to main content


Sean Munson

Autumn 2023

Mapping Collective Visions for Tech Workers in the aftermath of the 2022-2023 Tech Layoffs

Led by Samuel So, PhD student (HCDE)
With guidance from HCDE professors Sucheta Ghoshal and Sean Munson

By early 2023, several big tech companies, such as Alphabet, Meta, Amazon, and Intel, announced layoffs that would impact up to 100,000 people. Company leadership justified these decisions as the result of lowered sales and preemptive measures in anticipation of an economic recession. The current wave of layoffs comes at a time when tech workers are increasingly critical of their employers’ values and practices. The designers, engineers, and other techworkers in the workforce have an increasingly conflicted relationship with the managerial class within Big Tech, particularly with corporate leadership that gets to define the goals and visions of this industry. As a result, many of them are actively seeking out newer means of accountability within and outside the workplace.

As the next phase of this NSF-supported project, we will investigate the emergent relationships tech workers have with their employers, their value systems, and potential modes of accountability in the aftermath of the layoffs. In this 2-credit DRG, we will recruit for- and conduct an 8-week asynchronous remote communities (ARC) research study involving recently laid off tech workers. DRG students will facilitate ARC activities and qualitatively analyze participant responses.

For more information on the study, please refer here.

We are looking for:

  • 2-3 graduate students (MS or PhD), or upper-level undergraduate students in their 3rd+ year
  • No prior software development experience necessary
    • No experience with qualitative data analysis software necessary 
  • Folks with qualitative data collection and analysis experience (e.g., interviews, surveys, focus groups, ARCs)
  • Interest in technocultural analysis, labor studies, and/or CSCW research, theory, and methods

DRG Format and Expectations:

  • Attend two weekly meetings: 75-minute research group meeting and 90 minute co-working session. Times TBD (see survey)
  • Work on the DRG outside of scheduled meeting times for 3 hours 
  • Graded credit/no-credit for 2 credits (3 hours per credit = e.g., 3 hours of meetings + 3 hours of outside work = 2 CR)

Students in the DRG will:

  • Co-create, workshop, facilitate, and monitor weekly ARC activities with participants
  • Collect participant data and write observational memos based on participants’ weekly responses
  • Collaborate on qualitative data analysis through grounded theory open-coding and research memos

Please fill out this survey if you are interested. Applications will close on Wednesday, September 27th, 2023 11:59pm, and decisions will be e-mailed and finalized by Thursday, September 28th, 2023. Decisions will be made on a rolling basis, so earlier submissions are encouraged!

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to Samuel So via email ( or HCDE Slack.

Dr. Munson's Research Group archive