Industry 4.0



The introduction of new technologies in the workplace can produce diverging impacts on working conditions, depending on the specific organizational design in which those technologies are meant to operate. Remote communication and managerial practices based on the use of robots, algorithms and «big data» processing can enable a pervasive monitoring of the work performance, the mechanical dictation of stringent and frequent directives and an analytical and sophisticated assessment of the work performance. Conversely, they can promote the establishment of horizontal relationships whereby punctual instructions are replaced by the definition of general objectives. Thus, artificial intelligence can enhance the autonomy decision-making ability of workers, their skills and their wellbeing at work, as well as obliterate and hinder them. 

Specific objectives of this strand of research are:

  • to identify critical aspects raised by the automation and the digital transformation on employment relationship, with regard inter alia to health and safety, privacy and performance assessment; 
  • to assess the quality and effectiveness of IR tools – such as workplace representation, collective bargaining, collective action and the workers’ involvement in the organisation – with regard to the automation and digitization of production processes;
  • to investigate how collective agreements, employee involvement in managerial decision and workplace representation can offer protections in the context of the “robotization” of the workplace, in particular with regard to: control on excessive workloads and workpace, pervasive remote monitoring, fair performance appraisal and employment-related managerial decisions;
  • to identify the main constraints faced by social partners as regulatory agents in this field and to find ways to remove them.