A framework for assessing social acceptability of Industry 4.0 technologies for the development of digital manufacturing

Kumar, Anil, Agrawal, Rohit, Wankhede, Vishal A., Sharma, Manu and Mulat-Weldemeskel, Eyob (2021) A framework for assessing social acceptability of Industry 4.0 technologies for the development of digital manufacturing. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 174. ISSN 0040-1625


The manufacturing sector has undergone a significant transformation using revolutionary Industry 4.0 (I4.0) technologies that have profoundly changed production processes and operations. To unlock the digitalization of sustainable production systems, manufacturing organizations are keen to adopt digital technologies to enhance performance. This paper analyses the social acceptability dimensions of I4.0 in the context of digital manufacturing (DM) and proposes a novel framework. The dimensions were identified through an extensive literature review. A data set of 121 responses was collected from different Indian manufacturing units and exploratory factor analysis was employed with dimensions structured into seven categories - safety, psychological, behavioural, compliance, cultural, employee and market. To develop inter-relationships among the main dimensions, a fuzzy decision-making trial and evaluation laboratory technique was utilized. Based on the priority order, 'security breaches' are the most significant dimension, followed by 'data theft'. The study contributes to both the theory of socio-technical transition (TSTT) and social cognition theory (SCT) by describing the impact of I4.0 technologies on social and personal behaviour. The study findings make significant contributions to both the practical and managerial perspectives of I4.0 technologies for the growth of DM. This paper provides fruitful insights for decision-makers and industry practitioners to develop a DM environment.

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