This special issue takes steps towards examining how workers, tasks, structures, and technologies have changed within manufacturing setting within the last years. We invite participants from a diversity of disciplines and perspectives to contribute with insights about cooperation on the shopfloor and the role of technology within these settings. We aim to deepen our understanding of actual work practices and relations in contexts such as manufacturing, knowledge-intense production processes and related practices such as engineering or work preparation.
Possible topics include (but are not limited to):
- Skills, qualifications and competences of human workers. What are the novel digitalization skills that workers need to in order to shape their work processes? How to ensure that ‘operator 4.0’ employees’ experiences do become not worse, but better than before?
- Tools, processes, services and architectures for supporting the cooperation on the shopfloor: What are the tools, services and architectural infrastructures for supporting the actual work and conflicts in manufacturing settings? What are the characteristics of tools that support articulation work and coordination processes during work practices?
- Social and organizational factors influencing cooperation issues: Work within industry settings heavily relies on social and organizational structures. What are the social and organizational aspects that foster cooperation in industry? How is labor distributed? How could social and organizational aspects shape the cooperation on the shopfloor? How do workers interact with and collaborate with semi-autonomous systems?
- On the one hand, emerging technology is intended to simplify work, but on the other hand, there are a multitude of knowledge-intensive work processes which can be traced back to rising productivity requirements and increasing product complexity. Therefore, the question of an adequate support of knowledge-intensive work and the technical design of this support arises: What are suitable tools to manage knowledge and share expertise? How can the experience of experts be processed and which tools can be used?
- Methodological challenges and innovative methodologies: Design- and technology-oriented research and its prototypes are often developed with the employees for the actual workflows of the shop floor. However, the evaluation of the prototypes is difficult, as machines and thus capital are lost in case of errors. How can the claim between participatory design with iterative steps and the expectation of a finished product be met?