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Title: Organising the Implementation of Industry 4.0 in a High Value German Manufacturing Firm: A Complex Adaptive Systems Approach.
Authors: Rüb, Julian
Issue Date: 2022
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This thesis addresses an important research gap in empirical qualitative evidence regarding the organisational aspects of the implementation of Industry 4.0. Whereas there is a basic understanding of the technical implementation in the factory plant, the understanding of the implementation from an organisational perspective is limited. A holistic single case study with 35 semi-structured expert interviews enabled a deep exploration of an implementation in a real-world context at the firm level. The findings demonstrate how a high value German manufacturing company has implemented Industry 4.0, as well as why this firm implemented as it did. Several elements are thematically analysed, representing important examples of how manufacturing firms can organise the implementation of Industry 4.0 in praxis. Covering the three areas of actions, influences and relationships, the implications of the analysed elements are discussed in relation to six theoretical themes, namely centralisation vs. decentralisation, diffusion of new ideas, working in teams, trust, open innovation and path dependence. This thesis represents the first existing study that understands the implementation of Industry 4.0 as a Complex Adaptive System of interrelated system elements which continuously evolve over time. In this sense, a newly developed system model acknowledges important relationship characteristics that lead to a more comprehensive perspective on the complex implementation of Industry 4.0. This thesis contributes to the research field by being the first study to suggest a “dual approach” encompassing important decentralised as well as centralised implementation patterns for a successful process. It furthermore demonstrates how workforce concerns regarding job security significantly influence the emergence of system elements regarding change management during the implementation of Industry 4.0. The thesis offers academic contributions to the Industry 4.0 implementation literature, as well as organisational elements recommended for practitioners when organising the implementation of Industry 4.0.
Description: Ph. D. Thesis
Appears in Collections:Newcastle University Business School

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