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Challenges and opportunities in digitalized work and management – case study 8
Mälardalen University, School of Business, Society and Engineering, Industrial Economics and Organisation.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2125-5451
2017 (English)Report (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This study was conducted in one of the subsidiaries of a large Swedish industrial corporation, which is a world leader within the metal and manufacturing industry. In order to protect the identity of this organization, from this point on, I will refer to it as ‘MO’, manufacturing organization.

The manufacturing subsidiary (MO) has a history in the local community that can be traced back to 1893. Within this particular manufacturing subsidiary there are about 180 employees, 75% of whom are blue collar, with six Team Managers and 25 Team Leaders. Residents in the small city where MO is located view the company not only as a business entity but an important part of their lives. Many families have members who have been employed by this company for generations.

In the autumn of 2017, when I began the research project on this organization, the organization was undergoing a period of difficulty due to the implementation of a new digital program for integrated information management. Individuals occupying different roles in the organization explained to me how they organized their daily work, how they overcome technical obstacles, the types of changes they underwent, as well as their views on leadership/management and the future development of digitalized work. I interviewed and observed the work of 15 people including six operators (workers), three Team Leaders, one Team Manager, five managers (from the management team) and the Plant Manager of this subsidiary.

In this report, I will present the material (interview and observational) collected in MO. I will begin by demonstrating the two-dimensional technology development – i.e. automation and digitalization that takes place simultaneously in this organization.  I will present how change of technology enables the work process and provides opportunities while altering ideas and practices of work as well as challenging the concept of work (e.g. Kagermann, 2014:24) and management/leadership in the organization – by illustrating narratives from different perspectives. Following this, I identify opportunities and challenges that MO is facing. I analyse MO’s digital development and provide implications for future actions by relating to the literature of Change Management, Human Resource Management and Organizational Culture. Finally, I will discuss the future of digitalization by focusing on research possibilities in leadership, gender equality and diversity.

Although the focus of this research project is the practices around technology renewal in terms of digitalization, the material shows that in the process of digitalizing industrial operations, the company faces multi-faceted challenges including technology renewal, changes in the nature of work, identity orientation, cultural shift, age paradoxes, coexistence of ‘old’ and ‘new’ methods etc. In this report, I also seek to provide implications based on the themes extracted from the material with the aim of helping the company to prevent unexpected, undesired social and cultural consequences resulting from the digitalizing process.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Västerås, 2017. , p. 42
Series
Studies in Social Sciences / Arbetsrapport, ISSN 1654-0603 ; 2017:8
Keyword [en]
Metal Working Industry, digitalization, automation, CNC-operators, Change Management in digitalized organizations, building the ‘digital culture’, leadership in the digital time, new skill sets and competences
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-37398ISBN: 978-91-7485-363-6 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-37398DiVA, id: diva2:1163138
Projects
DAO Digitaliserat arbete och organisering | Digitalized Work and Management
Funder
VINNOVA
Available from: 2017-12-06 Created: 2017-12-06 Last updated: 2018-01-12Bibliographically approved

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