Dipartimento di Ingegneria Gestionale

Organizing for Smart Manufacturing

About the project

This research project studies the impact that Smart Manufacturing technologies have on organization of work. The objective is to analyze how different 4.0 use cases can be supported by new organizational configurations, both in terms of content of individual work and proper re-design of organizational units. Results offer companies guidelines on how to manage the fit between organization and 4.0 applications, mitigating the risk of organizational resistance towards technological change.

Principal Investigators:  Emilio Bartezzaghi, Raffaella Cagliano

Researcher team:  Raffaella Cagliano, Emilio Bartezzaghi, Filomena Canterino, Luciano Pero, Luigi Campagna, Marco Guerci (UniMi), Silvia Gilardi (UniMi), Emanuela Shaba (UniMi), Annachiara Longoni (ESADE)

Duration: Ongoing – started in September 2016

Partners: Laboratorio CISL; Università degli Studi di Milano; Other Collaborations: Università degli Studi di Padova; ESADE Business School, Spain; Aalborg University, Denmark; Corvinus University, Hungary


The 4.0 technological change can be more or less drastic for companies, depending on their technological and organizational maturity. Smart Manufacturing can strongly impact the organization of work at different levels and, consequently, employees’ reaction towards the implementation of the new technologies. Despite the relevance of these aspects for the success of Smart Manufacturing implementation, empirical evidence is still limited in this area. Theoretical arguments developed so far analyze this broader topic by identifying possible alternative future scenarios, such as «augmentation» strategy (i.e. technologies used to augment operators’ capacity/competence) vs “substitution strategy” (i.e. technologies used to augment operators’ capacity/competence). But how companies can choose and implement the proper ‘organizational pathway’ for Smart Manufacturing remains unclear.

For these reasons, this research project deepens the following research questions:

  • Which are the emerging organizational models in terms of work design at the micro level and the design of organizational units that emerges when different 4.0 technological use cases are introduced in companies?
  • Which are the drivers of a successful approach to organization-technology 4.0 co-design?
  • Which are the organizational enablers (in particular models of delegation, participation and empowerment) for the implementation of success of 4.0 technologies?

Results map different use cases and related organization models, offering best-practices for companies implementing Smart Manufacturing applications. In particular, organizational models are described both at the micro level (i.e. the design of individual roles and jobs in terms of autonomy, cognitive demand, task significance, social interaction, level of formalization) and at the macro-level (i.e. number and types of organizational units, the hierarchical levels and the coordination mechanisms between different units).


  • E Bartezzaghi, R Cagliano, F Canterino, A Longoni, Organizing for Smart Manufacturing, Academy of Management Global Proceedings, 12, 2018
  • E Bartezzaghi, R Cagliano, F Canterino, A Longoni, The impact of smart manufacturing technologies on work and organizational design: the role of technological maturity, working paper presented at 28th EurOMA conference, Budapest, 2018
  • E Bartezzaghi, L Campagna, L Pero, Le tecnologie e il lavoro che cambia. Report CISL, 2017
  • E Bartezzaghi, R Cagliano, F Canterino, A Longoni, Organizing for Smart Manufacturing, working paper presented at 27th EurOMA conference, Edinburgh, 2017