A full understanding of the technological complexity underlying robotics and automation is still lacking, most of all when focusing on the impacts on work in services. By means of a qualitative analysis relying on the administration of more than 50 interviews to HR managers, IT technicians, workers and trade union delegates, this work provides evidence on the main changes occurring at shopfloor level in selected Italian companies having adopted technological artefacts potentially affecting labour tasks by automating processes. The analysis of interviews complemented with visits to the companies and desk research on business documents highlights that so far labour displacement due to the adoption of automation technologies is not yet in place, while tasks and organizational reconfiguration appear more widespread. Major heterogeneity applies across plants due to the final product/service produced, the techno-organizational capabilities of the firm and the type of strategic orientation versus technological adoption. These elements also affect drivers and barriers to technological adoption. Overall, the analysis confirms the complexity in automating presumably low-valueadded phases: human labour remains crucial in conducting activities that require flexibility, adaptability and reconfiguration of physical tasks. Further, human agency and worker representation, in particular the role of trade unions, are almost disregarded and not considered by the firms when deciding to introduce a new technology.

Case Studies of Automation in Services. A workplace analysis of logistics, cleaning and health sectors in Italy / Cirillo, V; Rinaldini, M.; Virgillito, M. E.; Divella, M.; Manicardi, C.; Massimo, F. S.; Cetrulo, A.; Costantini, E.; Moro, A.; Staccioli, J.. - (2022). [10.2760/347087]

Case Studies of Automation in Services. A workplace analysis of logistics, cleaning and health sectors in Italy

Rinaldini M.;Costantini, E.;
2022-01-01

Abstract

A full understanding of the technological complexity underlying robotics and automation is still lacking, most of all when focusing on the impacts on work in services. By means of a qualitative analysis relying on the administration of more than 50 interviews to HR managers, IT technicians, workers and trade union delegates, this work provides evidence on the main changes occurring at shopfloor level in selected Italian companies having adopted technological artefacts potentially affecting labour tasks by automating processes. The analysis of interviews complemented with visits to the companies and desk research on business documents highlights that so far labour displacement due to the adoption of automation technologies is not yet in place, while tasks and organizational reconfiguration appear more widespread. Major heterogeneity applies across plants due to the final product/service produced, the techno-organizational capabilities of the firm and the type of strategic orientation versus technological adoption. These elements also affect drivers and barriers to technological adoption. Overall, the analysis confirms the complexity in automating presumably low-valueadded phases: human labour remains crucial in conducting activities that require flexibility, adaptability and reconfiguration of physical tasks. Further, human agency and worker representation, in particular the role of trade unions, are almost disregarded and not considered by the firms when deciding to introduce a new technology.
2022
978-92-76-58953-2
Publications Office of the European Union
Case Studies of Automation in Services. A workplace analysis of logistics, cleaning and health sectors in Italy / Cirillo, V; Rinaldini, M.; Virgillito, M. E.; Divella, M.; Manicardi, C.; Massimo, F. S.; Cetrulo, A.; Costantini, E.; Moro, A.; Staccioli, J.. - (2022). [10.2760/347087]
Cirillo, V; Rinaldini, M.; Virgillito, M. E.; Divella, M.; Manicardi, C.; Massimo, F. S.; Cetrulo, A.; Costantini, E.; Moro, A.; Staccioli, J.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11380/1306206
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