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Work 4.0: Benefits & risks of new technologies

Technological innovations are changing the world of work, bringing relief but also uncertainty. Digital humanism aims to leverage benefits and minimize risks.

Work 4.0

Effects of technological innovation on work

Dr. Martina Hartner-Tiefenthaler (Institute of Management Sciences, TU Wien) and Assoc.Prof. Mag. Michael Filzmoser, PhD (Academic Director, MBA Digital Transformation & Change Management, TU Wien) discuss the benefits and challenges of technological innovations for employees.

Opportunities & risks of new technologies

Technological developments have always brought about a change in the way we work. The increased pace of technological innovations in the context of Industry 4.0 requires a great deal of adaptability and flexibility on the part of companies and employees. The goal of Work 4.0 is therefore to place people at the center in the sense of digital humanism. New technologies should benefit people and not the other way around.

Hartner-Tiefenthaler and Filzmoser compare the advantages and challenges of technological innovations for employees using different innovation stages (diffusion, medium-induced innovation, purpose-induced innovation, radical innovation) as examples. Cobots or "collaborative robots" are an example of a purpose-induced innovation in which existing technology is used for a new purpose. Robots that collaborate with humans offer the potential to reduce the workload for workers on the one hand - on the other hand they can trigger fear of job loss.

In order to focus on the positive aspects of technological developments and to avoid uncertainty, decision-makers and managers should strive for a human-centered rather than a technology-centered integration of new technologies into the world of work. In this context, it is always important to ask for which activities and areas of application technological innovation can be meaningfully used - and which opportunities and risks arise for employees and companies as a result.


>> Digital Humanism & Working 4.0: Technology should serve people, not the other way around.

>> Technological developments always bring about a change in the world of work.

>> Digital leadership competence is necessary to avoid uncertainty among employees and to make optimal use of the potential of technical innovations.


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Hartner-Tiefenthaler, Martina & Filzmoser, Michael. (2020). Auswirkungen technologischer Innovation auf das Arbeiten. In: Digitaler Humanismus: Menschliche Werte in der virtuellen Welt., opens an external URL in a new window