Institutional Drivers for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Comparative Analysis of Impacts on Quality of Employment and of Work Explained in Three Regimes

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 16:15
Oral Presentation
Steven DHONDT, TNO, Netherlands
Peter OEIJ, Healthy Living, TNO, Leiden, Netherlands
Monique RAMIOUL, HIVA - KU Leuven, Belgium
Ezra DESSERS, KU Leuven, Belgium
Geert VAN HOOTEGEM, KU Leuven, Belgium
In contrary to the predictions of Brynjolfsson e.a. (2014)/ Frey e.a. (2013), the 4th Industrial Revolution has not lead to mass unemployment and major changes in work practices. In fact, we can see major differences in impacts between countries, when looking at how industrial sectors have reacted to the new technological change. In Western-Europe, we can see three trajectories of the manufacturing industries. In Germany, high wages and strong unions have led to a new growth in the manufacturing industries. In the Netherlands, trade unions have lost their grip on labour conditions and relationships. The manufacturing industry has shown new growth, but at the expense of employment levels, quality of work and of employment relations. In other Western-European countries, the manufacturing industry has continued to diminish in importance (Tshidimba e.a., 2015). These conflicting trends are not understood. We want to look at the cooperation between employers and trade unions, the reaction of policy makers, and the development of support systems for industrial sectors, and see how they impact the integration of new technologies into work. We want to explore the main differences in quality of work in manufacturing industries, the degree into which different work organisations allow for more process and product innovation. For this purpose, we will look into the outcomes of major surveys on technology, employment and quality of work for these three contexts (German BIBB/BAuA-survey: Pfeiffer, 2016; Dutch Skills Survey: Akçomak e.a., 2011; IOA Survey: Delagrange, 2016). We want to see how these institutional contexts are important to explain the impacts on employment conditions and quality of work, but also on the competitive performance of companies. We will assess how 4th Industrial Revolution technologies show different impacts, according to these institutional impacts. We explane why the predictions about new technology need to take these conditions into account.