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Examining the development of a digital ecosystem in an Industry 4.0 context: a sociotechnical perspective

Authors
  • Margherita, Emanuele Gabriel1
  • Braccini, Alessio Maria1
  • 1 University of Tuscia, Via del Paradiso, 47, Viterbo, 01100, Italy , Viterbo (Italy)
Type
Published Article
Journal
SN Business & Economics
Publisher
Springer International Publishing
Publication Date
Jun 10, 2021
Volume
1
Issue
7
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s43546-021-00096-z
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
Disciplines
  • Original Article
License
Yellow

Abstract

To respond to increased competition, manufacturing organisations have started developing digital ecosystems within a supply chain by adopting Industry 4.0 technologies. That approach promises to improve organisational efficiency by automating operations and decision-making activities. The development of the digital ecosystem passes through vertical and horizontal integrations of technologies. Vertical integration represents the integration of various organisational units, and it is a milestone in the process of reaching horizontal integration where different organisations integrate their production processes in a supply chain. The extant literature reveals that the vertical integration of an organisation is challenging to achieve, as the adoption process of Industry 4.0 employs a technocentric perspective without considering the way that technology users can cause strong workforce resistance against Industry 4.0 adoption. The sociotechnical perspective addresses this issue by considering both technology and users during the adoption process. Therefore, this paper illustrates the applicability of the sociotechnical approach to an in-depth single case study of an Italian manufacturing group which successfully adopted Industry 4.0 technologies. We show the adoption process of Industry 4.0 technologies, highlighting the outcome of the adoption and proposing sociotechnical enabling factors that assist in achieving vertical integration.

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