The digitalization of manufacturing is disrupting several industries, promising positive impact at the macro-, meso-, and micro-level of organizations. This article aims to investigate how different adoption levels of digital technologies imply different changes in work practices, organizational structures and decision-making approaches (meso-level), and in turn work design and competency needs of production employees (micro-level). Distinct points of view have been collected through a phenomenological research design incorporating 20 qualitative interviews with plant managers, production managers, supervisors and team leaders, and other informants experiencing the digitalization in manufacturing plants of the Italian and Spanish automotive sectors. Grounded theory analysis revealed that the three key factors that could define an effective digital transformation of manufacturing plants are: data-driven decision-making approaches embraced by middle managers; upskilling of first-line managers, especially team leaders, for whom more analytical skills and IT literacy are needed; and the need for high-involvement management practices to truly motivate and engage production workers in consistent data input activities. These factors – whereby both digitization and connection technologies (i.e. a full-digitalized plant) are present – can enable the vision of a “data-driven operational decision-making” that follows a “bottom-up knowledge creation” based on an increasingly decentralized sense-making of operational data. Concerning organizational structures, changes in first-line management power balances emerge, with team leaders acquiring a central role in digitalized manufacturing plants, even more prominent than (theoretically) higher-level supervisors. Recommendations are also offered to practitioners and policymakers in the fields of HR management and education, concerning the direction to be taken in the post-secondary education and training of lower-level managerial professions such as production team leaders, to prevent the generation of middle-skills gaps already faced by other technical professions with the advent of digitalization.

Toward data-driven operational decision-making in digitalized manufacturing plants: a qualitative micro- and meso-level analysis / Colombari, Ruggero; Berbegal-Mirabent, Jasmina; Neirotti, Paolo. - ELETTRONICO. - (2021). ((Intervento presentato al convegno R&D Management Conference 2021 tenutosi a Glasgow (Scotland) nel 07/07/2021-08/07/2021.

Toward data-driven operational decision-making in digitalized manufacturing plants: a qualitative micro- and meso-level analysis

Colombari,Ruggero;Neirotti,Paolo
2021

Abstract

The digitalization of manufacturing is disrupting several industries, promising positive impact at the macro-, meso-, and micro-level of organizations. This article aims to investigate how different adoption levels of digital technologies imply different changes in work practices, organizational structures and decision-making approaches (meso-level), and in turn work design and competency needs of production employees (micro-level). Distinct points of view have been collected through a phenomenological research design incorporating 20 qualitative interviews with plant managers, production managers, supervisors and team leaders, and other informants experiencing the digitalization in manufacturing plants of the Italian and Spanish automotive sectors. Grounded theory analysis revealed that the three key factors that could define an effective digital transformation of manufacturing plants are: data-driven decision-making approaches embraced by middle managers; upskilling of first-line managers, especially team leaders, for whom more analytical skills and IT literacy are needed; and the need for high-involvement management practices to truly motivate and engage production workers in consistent data input activities. These factors – whereby both digitization and connection technologies (i.e. a full-digitalized plant) are present – can enable the vision of a “data-driven operational decision-making” that follows a “bottom-up knowledge creation” based on an increasingly decentralized sense-making of operational data. Concerning organizational structures, changes in first-line management power balances emerge, with team leaders acquiring a central role in digitalized manufacturing plants, even more prominent than (theoretically) higher-level supervisors. Recommendations are also offered to practitioners and policymakers in the fields of HR management and education, concerning the direction to be taken in the post-secondary education and training of lower-level managerial professions such as production team leaders, to prevent the generation of middle-skills gaps already faced by other technical professions with the advent of digitalization.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11583/2913697