Pfeiffer, Sabine, Maximilian Held, & Horan Lee (2018, May). Digitalisierung „machen“ – Ansichten im Engineering zur partizipativen Gestaltung von Industrie 4.0 [“Doing” digitalisation – Views of industrial engineers on participation in “Industry 4.0”]. In Josephine Hofmann (Ed.), Arbeit 4.0 – Digitalisierung, IT und Arbeit: IT als Treiber der digitalen Transformation [Work 4.0 – Digitization, IT and labor: IT as a driver of digital transformation] (pp. 113-129). Wiesbaden: Springer Professional. [German] ISBN 978-3-658-21359-6. $59.99 cloth and ebook.
The German buzzword “Industry 4.0” comprises a host of diverse technologies, each requiring manifold implementation decisions as they are deployed in companies. Current forms of participatory design (including agile methods, design thinking, open innovation) often involve customers early on, but hardly the workers operating the new technologies on the shop floor. We investigate whether, and how the industrial engineers driving this change want to involve their blue-collar colleagues from the shop floor. This chapter reports unpublished results from a survey, qualitative interviews and a Q-sort at the industrial engineering department of a German automaker. Results indicate that engineers are ready to involve workers, and have made positive experiences with participation in the design process. However, such participation is often hampered by a lack of time and opportunity, as well as ideas and initiative to break with existing processes, often focused on ex-post optimisation.
Sabine Pfeiffer holds the chair for sociology for labor, technology and society at Friedrich-Alexander Universität, Nürnberg-Erlangen (FAU), Germany. Horan Lee is a research associate at FAU. Maximilian Held is a research associate and Q data scientist at FAU, as well as the webmaster of the Q methodology website.