Sociotechnical perspectives on digitalisation and Industry 4.0

2019 – The sociotechnical systems (STS)  approach and theory 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 sparce. 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 experience 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, MTS and its derived concept 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.


Kopp, Ralf; Steven Dhondt; Hartmut Hirsch-Kreisen; Michael Kohlgrüber; Paul Preenen: ‚Sociotechnical perspectives on digitalisation and Industry 4.0’ In: International Journal of Technology Transformation and Commercialisation. Vol.16, No. 3, 2019, p 290 – 309. (first version) and in: Kopp et al (eds.) Arbeit erforschen und gestalten…..


Thema: Workplace Innovation

Sector: general and Logistics and Process Industry as examples

Source: Article