The Corporate Response to the Fourth Industrial Revolution

  • Peter Totterdill UK Work Organisation Network


From a critical perspective, Industry 4.0 risks being no more than the latest in the long line of technological predictions based on exaggerated claims. It risks drawing corporate decision-makers into patterns of investment that ultimately fail, because they ignore the importance of synergy between the design and implementation of technologies on the one hand, and human and organisational factors on the other. There is a need to articulate the choices and alternative narrative surrounding Industry 4.0.The technological advances represented by Industry 4.0 potentially offer real economic and also social benefits. At the same time, realising this potential, and avoiding the mistakes of the past, means recognising the importance of a new and more inclusive paradigm of innovation. The challenge is that of reconciling the ordered, rational organisation of work offered by emergent technologies with the creative, dialogical, serendipitous and even chaotic human interactions that can stimulate innovation.