The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether the financial resources invested in advanced manufacturing technologies (AMTs) and social capital (SC), in terms of the set of internal and external relationships a firm holds, have a positive effect on the adoption of Industry 4.0 (I4.0) technologies. Furthermore, it tests whether the organizational context strengthens these relationships.
The authors used regression models to analyze data collected through an international survey carried out within the scope of a European project involving six Central European regions.
Results show that small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) having stronger internal and external SC have a higher propensity to adopt I4.0 technologies, and both management support and absorptive capacity (AC) strengthen these relationships, whereas investments in AMTs within the manufacturing area and internal SC have a positive association with the intensity of I4.0 adoption. However, in presence of a high level of management support and AC, the relationship between external SC and I4.0 adoption becomes positive and significant. Management support also moderates the impact that investments in AMTs in the manufacturing area and internal SC have on the intensity of adoption of I4.0 technologies.
This paper is one of the first to investigate the context of SMEs that, having fewer resources, face some difficulties in exploiting the potential of I4.0 revolution. Moreover, it adopts a broad perspective on the factors that facilitate the adoption of I4.0.
This research has been supported by the University of Padua (Developing an assessment tool to support Lean Transformation in SMEs), and by the Interreg EU Project called InnoPeer AVM (CE1119).
Agostini, L. and Nosella, A. (2019), "The adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies in SMEs: results of an international study", Management Decision, Vol. 58 No. 4, pp. 625-643. https://doi.org/10.1108/MD-09-2018-0973Download as .RIS
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