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Networks in Assembly: Investigating Social Factors in Robotic Automation

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  • Christian Resch

    (Institute of Sociology, Goethe University of Frankfurt am Main, Frankfurt am Main, Germany)

Abstract

Automation will be one of the shaping influences of the coming decades. The increased application of robots in assembly will undoubtedly change these work environments. However, studies which attempt to predict the effect on the labour market resulting from the automation of work processes and the replacement of jobs suffer from overly simplistic dichotomy between routine and non-routine tasks. In contrast, research at the micro-level of the shop floor has shown that even routine tasks draw heavily on informal knowledge and experience. This paper reviews the concepts which describe these work processes and the necessary forms of knowledge and experience. I then argue that the literature on social networks in organisations can provide useful conceptual and methodical tools to investigate how these kinds of knowledge and experience are transferred between workers. Social network research therefore can serve as a way to shed light on the social factors in robotic automation. The paper concludes with the opportunities which the application of network analysis to assembly can provide for social network research itself.

Suggested Citation

  • Christian Resch, 2017. "Networks in Assembly: Investigating Social Factors in Robotic Automation," IET Working Papers Series 01/2017, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, IET/CICS.NOVA-Interdisciplinary Centre on Social Sciences, Faculty of Science and Technology.
  • Handle: RePEc:ieu:wpaper:72
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    File URL: http://run.unl.pt/handle/10362/61268
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Automation; Robotics; Work processes; Social networks;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • L2 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior
    • J5 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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