Interpreting the industry 4.0 future: technology, business, society and people

Holger Schiele* (Corresponding Author), Anna Christina Bos - Nehles, Peter Stegmaier, Vincent Delke, I.A.R. Torn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Industrial revolutions have been induced by technological advances, but fundamentally changed business and society. To gain a comprehensive understanding of the fourth industrial revolution (I4.0) and derive guidelines for business strategy, it is, therefore, necessary to explore it as a multi-facet phenomenon. Most literature on I4.0, however, takes up a predominantly technical view. This paper aims to report on a project discussing a holistic view on I4.0 and its implications, covering technology, business, society and people.

Two consecutive group discussions in form of academic world cafés have been conducted. The first workshop gathered multi-disciplinary experts from academia, whose results were further validated in a subsequent workshop including industry representatives. A voting procedure was used to capture participants perspectives.

The paper develops a holistic I4.0 vision, focusing on five core technologies, their business potential, societal requests and people implications. Based on the model a checklist has been developed, which firms can use a tool to analyze their firm’s situation and draft their industry 4.0 business strategy.

Rather than focusing on technology alone – which by itself is unlikely to make up for a revolution – this research integrates the entire system. In this way, a tool-set for strategy design results.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of business strategy
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print/First online - 26 Jan 2021


  • Business models
  • Strategic management
  • Technology

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