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Control in the era of surveillance capitalism: an empirical investigation of Italian Industry 4.0 factories

Angelo Moro, Matteo Rinaldini, Jacopo Staccioli () and Maria Enrica Virgillito ()
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Angelo Moro: Centre for Economics and Sociology Applied to Agriculture and Rural Areas (Cesaer/INRA), Université Bourgogne Franche-Comté
Matteo Rinaldini: Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia

Economia e Politica Industriale: Journal of Industrial and Business Economics, 2019, vol. 46, issue 3, No 4, 347-360

Abstract: Abstract We explore the extent to which the current technological trend, dubbed Industry 4.0, might increase forms of control inside organisations, by focussing on pivotal firms in the so-called Italian Motor Valley currently embracing its adoption. We find that Industry 4.0 technologies open up great possibilities for incorporating the three forms of control identified by Orlikowski (Account Manag Inf Technol 1(1):9–42, https://doi.org/10.1016/0959-8022(91)90011-3 , 1991), i.e. personal, bureaucratic, and social, into technological artefacts, often blending them together. If, on the one hand, this implies a technical and theoretical feasibility of enforcing forms of ‘Big Brother’ surveillance within the boundaries of organisations, and thereby of the workplace, on the other hand, the actual achievement of these possibilities depends on the organisational environment within which the new technologies are implemented.

Keywords: Industry 4.0; Organisational change; Control; Saturation of working time (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: L23 L6 M54 O33 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1007/s40812-019-00120-2

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