Title: Sociotechnical perspectives on digitalisation and Industry 4.0

Authors: Ralf Kopp; Steven Dhondt; Hartmut Hirsch-Kreinsen; Michael Kohlgrüber; Paul Preenen

Addresses: Sozialforschungsstelle Dortmund (Central Scientific Unit), Technical University of Dortmund, Evinger Platz 17, D-44339 Dortmund, Germany ' TNO, The Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (Sustainable Productivity and Employability), Schipholweg 77-89, 2316 ZL Leiden, The Netherlands; KU Leuven, Center for Sociological Research, Parkstraat 45, 3000 Leuven, Belgium ' Sozialforschungsstelle Dortmund (Central Scientific Unit), Technical University of Dortmund, Evinger Platz 17, D-44339 Dortmund, Germany ' Sozialforschungsstelle Dortmund (Central Scientific Unit), Technical University of Dortmund, Evinger Platz 17, D-44339 Dortmund, Germany ' TNO, The Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (Sustainable Productivity and Employability), Schipholweg 77-89, 2316 ZL Leiden, The Netherlands

Abstract: The sociotechnical systems approach and theory (STS) helps to deal with today's rapid digital transformations in designing best suitable work, organisations and jobs. Not surprisingly, related approaches based on STS assumptions, such as modern sociotechnical thinking (MST) and workplace innovation (WPI) theory, are rapidly developing in Europe. Yet, research and (theoretical) analyses that place STS in today's digital industry challenges and WPI are sparse. The basics of sociotechnical concepts and new research, needs and perspectives for further development of STS in today's context need to be explored. Therefore, against the background of empirical experiences in logistics and process industry and in context of Industry 4.0, this article discusses firstly the model of classical STS approach and the skill orientated work design. Secondly, MST and its derived concept of WPI is positioned. Furthermore, a complementary 'practice theory' perspective is introduced, illustrated by an example design project. Finally, some future recommendations for research are made.

Keywords: digitalisation; Industry 4.0; workplace innovation; WPI; sociotechnical system approach; STS; skill-orientated work design; practice theory; material/skills/meaning.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTTC.2019.099896

International Journal of Technology Transfer and Commercialisation, 2019 Vol.16 No.3, pp.290 - 309

Available online: 15 May 2019 *

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