, Volume 33, Issue 3, pp 369–378 | Cite as

Digitalisation and the regulation of work: theoretical issues and normative challenges

  • Angelo SalentoEmail author
Open Forum


This paper presents an introductory overview of the main issues that the digitalisation of industrial enterprises known as Industry 4.0 raises for social sciences. First, it will show that this technological transition—which, however, is unfinished and is seen to be in continuity with the so-called “third industrial revolution”—cannot be interpreted with reference to a deterministic approach. It can be analysed more usefully as a range of decisions affecting the industrial policies of national states, the conception and design of machines, their adoption in production processes and finally their use by operators. Second, certain aspects of Industry 4.0 of special concern in terms of organisation of work processes will be analysed on various scales (from inter-company transactions to the specific tasks of individual workers). Finally, we will explain various hypotheses that social and economic research is developing with regard to the new technologies’ controversial effects on employment.


Digitalisation Industry 4.0 Work Organisation Manufacturing 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Ltd. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of HistorySociety and Human Studies University of SalentoLecceItaly

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