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Track 7.5 - Emerging landscapes. New skills, new technologies and new organizational challenges in the 4.0 age

Cristina SIMONE, Associate Prof., Sapienza University of Rome, Management Dep.
Giuliano MAIELLI, Reader, Queen Mary University of London, School of Management
Marcelo Enrique CONTI, Associate Prof., Sapienza University of Rome, Management Dep.
Laura RIOLLI, Full Professor, California State Univ., Business Dep., Sacramento (USA)  

Track's Contacts : 


The concept of digitizing everything is already a reality. Automation, artificial intelligence, IoT, machine learning and other advanced technologies are capturing and analyzing a wealth of data that gives us sizable amount and types of information to work from. One of the major challenges we face is to change the way we think, train and work with data in order to create value through advanced technologies. The 4.0 revolution is occurring where countless elements comprising industrial systems and services are being interfaced with internet communication technologies to form the smart future factories and manufacturing organizations. 4.0 age and its key technologies (cloud-based design, Mobile Devices, Big Data, smart manufacturing systems, the Internet of Things (IoT), the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), 3D printing) are currently being driven by disruptive innovation that promises to bring countless new value creation opportunities across all major market sectors. Its vision of ecosystems of smart factories with intelligent and autonomous shop-floor entities is inherently decentralized. This, in turn, entails new complexities within platforms, metaplatforms and socio-technological ecosystems, constantly creating new challenges and opportunities (i.e. responding to customer demands for tailored products and/or creating new products for new customers) for technology enablers, users and users/enablers. The 4.0 age seems to dictate the end of consolidated models (mental, educational, managerial, organizational, cultural, social etc.) and, at the same time, it asks for new “lenses” and interpretative paradigms enabling old and new actors to succeed in such magmatic landscape. Despite the significant hype around the topic, there is extant research regarding the exact consequences for people, companies and institutions involved. For example, millions of workplaces are being vaporized in a rhythm never seen before, while others are emerging towards becoming of billion-dollar companies (i.e. unicorn companies), which are managed by a reduced number of highly skilled professionals. The 4.0 landscapes are made of diverse technologies spread across many disciplines with many different types of subject matter experts. However, there are few standards and processes designed to assist each entity to speak a common language and think systemically. Academics and practitioners are trying to deeply comprehend the consequences of the 4.0 age revolution for employees, businesses, technology users/enablers and the society at large. This is particularly challenging in the newly emerging socio-technological context where organizational boundaries and the distinction between services and manufacturing are getting fuzzier than ever. Under this perspective, atoms and bits interpenetrate more and more like a fluid and virtuosic dance. These key issues will be debated in the papers as forerunner ideas for future research on this emerging landscape.

The track aims to critically analyze the state-of-the-art about the industrial 4.0 context, its opportunities, dark side and challenges in terms of:

• new competitive rules;
• new skills, new jobs, new educational programs;
• new labor organization and new organizational models;
• new technologies;
• new paradigms for the value co-creation;
• new models of interactions among human beings, machines and virtual world.