How do social systems shape the development and diffusion of new manufacturing technologies and how will these societal systems be affected by new technological trends? These are the big questions being discussed in this track, as Dr Yufeng Zhang of Birmingham Business School explains.
What do you think are the most disruptive influences impacting developments in your track?
The diffusion of a new generation of advanced technologies into a wide variety of industries has raised the prospect of a widespread and profound transformation of manufacturing systems. These new possibilities will not only transform the production and distribution of goods and services but also have far-reaching consequences for productivity, skills, the environment, income distribution and social well-being.
Can you describe some recent findings in this area that are of interest to you personally?
Future manufacturing will be embedded in multiple social systems of innovation and learning at various levels of aggregation. A cross-boundary analytical approach that focuses on the complex and dynamic relationships between radical technological changes and the multiple social systems in which these processes (and organisations) are embedded is needed. There is a growing interest of introducing a systematic framework for social systems and future manufacturing in national industrial strategies around the world, e.g. Brazil, China, Germany, Japan, the UK and the US just to name a few.
If someone was new to this topic what would you suggest they read to get a quick overview of the issues?
Insightful publications are around on subjects like sociology of work, organisational/institutional studies, production engineering, operations management, economics, computer sciences, etc. However, a cross-boundary view is still missing. It is my expectation that discussion in this track may help conceptualise a positing paper to highlight major trends in relevant knowledge areas as well as identifying key research questions for the benefit of academics, industrialists and policymakers.
Social Systems and Future Manufacturing is one of the tracks at the 2020 R&D Management Conference being held at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, from 27 June-1 July – see more information here.
Dr Yufeng Zhang, Reader in Operations Management, Head of Procurement and Operations Management Group, Birmingham. Find out more about Yufeng via the University of Birmingham site or connect on LinkedIn.
Dr Jorge Muniz Jr., Reader in Operations Management, Coordinator of Executive Master in Operations Management (MePEP-UNESP), Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). More about Jorge is available at the BV-CDI.