This article explores the relationship between the introduction of Industry 4.0 automation systems, the organisation of the work process, and the implications for employment, skill composition, power relations, and workers’ intervention authority. We investigate the undergoing technological and organisational transformation in three high-tech automotive factories in Italy and we find that the push towards sheer automation does not constitute the most relevant process under way. Rather, more effort is devoted to digitalisation and interconnection. Technological change appears to be strategically used by firms to achieve a lean production system and a tense, demand-led, production flow. In terms of human-machine relationship and workers’ authority to intervene on the production process, our case studies show that Industry 4.0 reduces room for employees’ autonomy and increases forms of management control.

Technology vs. workers:the case of Italy’s Industry 4.0 factories

Valeria Cirillo;
2020-01-01

Abstract

This article explores the relationship between the introduction of Industry 4.0 automation systems, the organisation of the work process, and the implications for employment, skill composition, power relations, and workers’ intervention authority. We investigate the undergoing technological and organisational transformation in three high-tech automotive factories in Italy and we find that the push towards sheer automation does not constitute the most relevant process under way. Rather, more effort is devoted to digitalisation and interconnection. Technological change appears to be strategically used by firms to achieve a lean production system and a tense, demand-led, production flow. In terms of human-machine relationship and workers’ authority to intervene on the production process, our case studies show that Industry 4.0 reduces room for employees’ autonomy and increases forms of management control.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11586/324493
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