Sapienza Università di Roma, Leonardo S.p.A.
In the context of digitalization and circular economy, a major challenge for policy makers and managers is ensuring that companies and individuals use technologies in the most productive way while protecting the human wellbeing. Compared to the previous technological advancements, companies and individuals now face an altered technological landscape in which some of the most compelling issues require the adoption of new methods for their efficient management. As an example, the necessity to reduce waste production triggered the creation of new approaches supporting circular economy perspective. Furthermore, the current digital technologies like artificial intelligence and robotics endow companies with high volume of data, variety and frequency, which machineries may use for self-directed learning and/or for informing employees during their daily tasks. As a result, the human-machine interaction will tremendously change. Consequently, companies need to be ready to realize the full potential of this changed human-machine interactions, ensuring the acceptance of new technologies from employees. Existing tools and operational models do not only have to be adjusted to support companies’ digital transitions, but they must undergo a complete human-oriented re-design process based on workforce abilities. In particular, ageing workforce represents a category of workers that mainly suffer from digital transition due to the competences gap to manage the adoption of new digitalized tools.
There are two potential problems that reduce the successful opportunities of digital technologies. The first is at an organizational level and interests workers’ partial or total refusal to use these technologies. In fact, workers are often skeptical of innovations that could potentially modify their skills and their role. This leads to a scarce or altered use of digital technologies, although fully available and operational. As a result, digital technologies may not lead to the expected productivity gains.
The second problem is at an individual level and investigates whether and how much the information provided by the machines guides the work of the operators, transforming the recipients’ approach from critical to automatic. The risk is that the automatism given by digital technologies limits the critical skills of workers, with the long-term risk for employees to forget their capabilities.
This project aims to develop a new managerial tool that fosters acceptance and proactive involvement of the workforce in the changed technological workplace. The researchers of this project will first analyze the organizational context (e.g., identification of implemented practices) and the technological context (channels and methos to make data available to the operators) that influence the human-machine interaction, thus enabling to understand the extent to which the external environment affects operators’ acceptance and proactivity. The analyses will integrate the latest trend regarding ageing society by differentiating the results on the individual capabilities and characteristics of workers.
In a second phase the researchers will design and implement a lab experiment to inspect human movements, stress level, attention level and emotions that affect human perceptions in the interaction with digital technologies and its effects on acceptability and proactivity.
The overall objective is to equip managers with a set of practices that create a successful digitalized organization.
The main result of this project is to provide managers a set of practices to create a successful The main result of this project is to provide managers a set of practices to create a successful digitalized organization. Aiming to achieve this long-term result, the researchers involved in this project will investigate the theoretical concept, the main architecture, and will develop an experimental prototype at laboratory level. The final expected results of this 30-months project will be as follows:
The final impact of the results before mentioned will be the overall improvement of job well-being, satisfaction and proactivity for workers of the Made in Italy system of the future, in which humans and machines are collaborating, and whose objective is to involve employees in continuous improvement and circular economy.