Purpose: This article aims to investigate the organisational implications of adopting Industry 4.0 (I4.0) technologies, giving specific attention to operations. The paper addresses these implications in two directions: organisational prerequisites for, and consequences of, I4.0 technologies. Design/methodology/approach: The research is based on a multiple case study of Italian Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in manufacturing. Ten case studies have been developed through interviews, company visits and secondary data collection. Findings: The multiple case study results show that: i) a lean organisational structure supports effective adoption of I4.0 technologies; ii) introducing such technologies is linked to developing a new kind of job profile (i.e., the “Autonomous Operative Job Profile”); and iii) higher levels of technology adoption create a higher need for non-technical competences. Research limitations/implications: A limitation of this research relates to the highly heterogeneous maturity levels of the sampled companies, due to the relative newness of the I4.0 paradigm. Future research could, therefore, longitudinally analyse the technology integration process within organisations. Practical implications: This research provides preliminary evidence about how organisations and technologies co-evolve, thus suggesting that managers should co-design these areas. It also demonstrates the extreme importance of designing a structured process and a clear set of human resource management tools to favour SME organisational development. Originality/value: The study is built upon a conceptual framework, derived from the sociotechnical perspective, that analyses the interconnections between technology implementation and organisational change. From the results, three research propositions are derived to be tested on a larger scale.

(2021). How do industry 4.0 technologies influence organisational change? An empirical analysis of Italian SMEs [journal article - articolo]. In JOURNAL OF MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY MANAGEMENT. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10446/166798

How do industry 4.0 technologies influence organisational change? An empirical analysis of Italian SMEs

Cimini, Chiara;Boffelli, Albachiara;Lagorio, Alexandra;Kalchschmidt, Matteo;Pinto, Roberto
2021

Abstract

Purpose: This article aims to investigate the organisational implications of adopting Industry 4.0 (I4.0) technologies, giving specific attention to operations. The paper addresses these implications in two directions: organisational prerequisites for, and consequences of, I4.0 technologies. Design/methodology/approach: The research is based on a multiple case study of Italian Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in manufacturing. Ten case studies have been developed through interviews, company visits and secondary data collection. Findings: The multiple case study results show that: i) a lean organisational structure supports effective adoption of I4.0 technologies; ii) introducing such technologies is linked to developing a new kind of job profile (i.e., the “Autonomous Operative Job Profile”); and iii) higher levels of technology adoption create a higher need for non-technical competences. Research limitations/implications: A limitation of this research relates to the highly heterogeneous maturity levels of the sampled companies, due to the relative newness of the I4.0 paradigm. Future research could, therefore, longitudinally analyse the technology integration process within organisations. Practical implications: This research provides preliminary evidence about how organisations and technologies co-evolve, thus suggesting that managers should co-design these areas. It also demonstrates the extreme importance of designing a structured process and a clear set of human resource management tools to favour SME organisational development. Originality/value: The study is built upon a conceptual framework, derived from the sociotechnical perspective, that analyses the interconnections between technology implementation and organisational change. From the results, three research propositions are derived to be tested on a larger scale.
articolo
Cimini, Chiara; Boffelli, Albachiara; Lagorio, Alexandra; Kalchschmidt, Matteo; Pinto, Roberto
(2021). How do industry 4.0 technologies influence organisational change? An empirical analysis of Italian SMEs [journal article - articolo]. In JOURNAL OF MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY MANAGEMENT. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10446/166798
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