Learning Factory Labs as Field-in-the-Lab Environments – An Experimental Concept for Human-Centred Production Research

6 Pages Posted: 10 Jun 2021

See all articles by Magnus Kandler

Magnus Kandler

wbk-Institute of Production Science

Louis Schäfer

wbk Institute of Production Science

Paul M. Gorny

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

Gisela Lanza

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

Petra Nieken

Chair of Human Resource Management

Karoline Ströhlein

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

Date Written: May 10, 2021

Abstract

A central challenge in the implementation of digitalisation and Industry 4.0 in companies is the human-centred development and design of the new technologies. These technologies have a major impact on the way people work and thus also on the motivation and satisfaction of employees. A thorough understanding of underlying drivers of employees’ technology acceptance and possible resistance to change is crucial for a successful implementation of such technologies. Experimental economic research methods comprise a way to record the effects on human behaviour and working methods allowing for causal evidence. Controlled laboratory conditions offer the option to vary only individual variables and measure their influence on human behaviour, motivation, satisfaction, or working methods. In contrast to standard computer labs, learning factories offer the possibility to carry out experiments in a real production environment and thus observing behaviour in real work tasks in a realistic environment. This leads to increased external validity while at the same time the strict experimental protocol still allows making causal claims. Learning factories so far do not fulfil laboratory requirements. We first outline the prerequisites for the execution of empirical experiments. We then introduce our research concept, based on the example of the Learning Factory Global Production of wbk. The goal of this paper is to create an environment that allows collecting empirical and meaningful research data in a learning factory. Finally, we exemplify our concept with an experimental design on how digitalisation can foster decentralised decision-making. This research will inform a more human-centred design of digitalisation technologies and its effects on employee behaviour.

Keywords: Industry 4.0; Human-Centred Production Systems; Behavioural and Experimental Economics; Experimental Design

Suggested Citation

Kandler, Magnus and Schäfer, Louis and Gorny, Paul M. and Lanza, Gisela and Nieken, Petra and Ströhlein, Karoline, Learning Factory Labs as Field-in-the-Lab Environments – An Experimental Concept for Human-Centred Production Research (May 10, 2021). Proceedings of the Conference on Learning Factories (CLF) 2021, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3862569

Magnus Kandler (Contact Author)

wbk-Institute of Production Science ( email )

Kaiserstraße 12
Karlsruhe, Baden Württemberg 76131
Germany

Louis Schäfer

wbk Institute of Production Science ( email )

Kaiserstraße 12
Karlsruhe, Baden Württemberg 76131
Germany

Paul M. Gorny

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology ( email )

Kaiserstraße 12
Karlsruhe, Baden Württemberg 76131
Germany

Gisela Lanza

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology ( email )

Kaiserstraße 12
Karlsruhe, Baden Württemberg 76131
Germany

Petra Nieken

Chair of Human Resource Management ( email )

Kaiserstraße 12
Karlsruhe, Baden Württemberg 76131
Germany

Karoline Ströhlein

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology ( email )

Kaiserstraße 12
Karlsruhe, Baden Württemberg 76131
Germany

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