P. Sauer publishes in International Journal of Production Economics


Philipp C. Sauer, associate professor at EMSBS, recently published an article in the International Journal of Production Economics [CNRS cat. 1, FNEGE cat. 1, HCERES cat. A].

The article, entitled “Organizational tensions in industry 4.0 implementation: A paradox theory approach,” was written in collaboration with Marcos Dieste (Free University of Bozen-Bolzano) and Guido Orzes  (Free University of Bozen-Bolzano).


While implementing Industry 4.0, organizational environments become more global, dynamic, and competitive thereby intensifying contradictory demands. In light of the resource and knowledge intensiveness of this often multi-year process, this study draws on paradox theory to identify the main organizational tensions emerging and persisting during the Industry 4.0 transformation of companies in a two-step approach. First, a systematic review of 73 academic papers on organizational challenges in Industry 4.0 adoption is conducted that summarizes 35 key challenges. Second, from these challenges a conceptual framework is built that illustrates the main tensions in Industry 4.0 implementation. The identified organizational tensions are categorized according to the learning, organizing, belonging, and performing categories proposed by the paradox theory. Moreover, resolution strategies to address these tensions have been drawn from the reviewed literature. These strategies are presented and linked to the individual tensions. Finally, tensions and resolution strategies were preliminary validated by a group of Industry 4.0 professionals during a workshop. As a result, the findings provide 23 tensions and 18 related resolution strategies illustrating how organizations can address to competing demands simultaneously when implementing Industry 4.0 technologies and thus raise their competitiveness and performance. Based on these results, the article discusses implications for operations management practitioners that can use the proposed framework to inform their strategies and decisions in Industry 4.0 implementation. Moreover, policymakers can adopt the results to develop focussed support actions for driving the Industry 4.0 transition. Finally, four main avenues for future research and implications for operations management scholars are provided.

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