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Workers’ awareness context in Italian 4.0 factories


  • Cirillo, Valeria
  • Rinaldini, Matteo
  • Staccioli, Jacopo
  • Virgillito, Maria Enrica


The study of the co-evolution of processes of technological innovation and the resulting organisational changes has been a topic of interest since the first appearance of the idea of division of labour and specialisation in Adam Smith’s works. The major phases of organisational change are in fact the result of ‘waves’ of technological innovations attributable to the various industrial revolutions. Nowadays, a new potential technological paradigm dubbed ‘Industry 4.0’ is shaping the manufacturing output of USA, Europe, and China, particularly in the automotive/engineering industry. With reference to the latter, the present research contribution aims at investigating, by means of field-work research activity, the degree of openness of the awareness context of workers and their intervention authority on the production process within three factories in the so-called Italian ‘Motor Valley’. Together with state-of-the-art 4.0 technology adoption, these firms exhibit different organisational practices ranging from the Japanese Toyotism (Cesab-Toyota), to a mix of Taylorism and co-determination (Ducati), up to the example most akin to the German ‘Mitbestimmung’ (Lamborghini). This technological wave is fostering the process of making the production system lean. Our findings corroborate the presence of a hybrid process of Industry 4.0 adoption, reflected into a hybrid process of workforce empowerment.

Suggested Citation

  • Cirillo, Valeria & Rinaldini, Matteo & Staccioli, Jacopo & Virgillito, Maria Enrica, 2018. "Workers’ awareness context in Italian 4.0 factories," GLO Discussion Paper Series 240, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:glodps:240

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Armanda Cetrulo & Alessandro Nuvolari, 2019. "Industry 4.0: revolution or hype? Reassessing recent technological trends and their impact on labour," Economia e Politica Industriale: Journal of Industrial and Business Economics, Springer;Associazione Amici di Economia e Politica Industriale, vol. 46(3), pages 391-402, September.
    2. Tortorella, Guilherme Luz & Saurin, Tarcisio A. & Hines, Peter & Antony, Jiju & Samson, Daniel, 2023. "Myths and facts of industry 4.0," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 255(C).
    3. Cirillo, Valeria & Evangelista, Rinaldo & Guarascio, Dario & Sostero, Matteo, 2021. "Digitalization, routineness and employment: An exploration on Italian task-based data," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(7).
    4. Angelo Moro & Matteo Rinaldini & Jacopo Staccioli & Maria Enrica Virgillito, 2019. "Control in the era of surveillance capitalism: an empirical investigation of Italian Industry 4.0 factories," Economia e Politica Industriale: Journal of Industrial and Business Economics, Springer;Associazione Amici di Economia e Politica Industriale, vol. 46(3), pages 347-360, September.

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    More about this item


    Industry 4.0; Technological Paradigms; Organisational Change; Lean Systems; Awareness Context;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • L23 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Organization of Production
    • L6 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing
    • M54 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Labor Management
    • 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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