Authors: Hirsch-Kreinsen, Hartmut
Title: Industry 4.0 - A Path-Dependent Innovation
Language (ISO): en
Abstract: Starting point of this paper is the prevailing view in the digitization discourse that there is currently a pronounced technology push with disruptive consequences for work. The article argues, however, that disruptive and structural change is by no means to be found or expected in all economic sectors and working segments. The thesis of this paper is that the digitization of work in the sector of industrial production is tied to a markedly path-dependent process of technological innovation and transformation of work. It is shown empirically that path dependency can be identified by incremental digitization measures in most companies and a related structurally conservative change in work. To explain these findings, conceptual considerations of organizational path dependence are invoked which emphasize particularly the mechanism of self-reinforcing increasing returns. However, technological and organizational path-dependency does not exclude the possibility of disruptive change. Therefore, the empirical and theoretical preconditions for longer-term disruptive change in work processes are discussed in conclusion.
Subject Headings (RSWK): Industrie 4.0
Issue Date: 2019-01
Appears in Collections:Soziologische Arbeitspapiere

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