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Culture of corporate research, the Italian case

An article published a few days ago investigates the links between Industry 4.0, scientific investigation and the need to develop the manufacturing system

A company grows when it implements new technologies prudently. It is not a question of blindly acquiring everything that is new, but of choosing wisely. And of (re)searching to do so. It is the knot of corporate research that must be tied with Academia, without being hindered by it. Everything then speeds up the moment the paradigm of Industry 4.0 enters factories and offices.  Production organisation and Academia need to take into account new needs and new ways to accommodate them.

Michele Tiraboschi (Professor of Employment Law at Modena University as well as Scientific Coordinator of the ADAPT scheme), in his “Research Work in the Industry 4.0 Era: The Italian Case” which was just recently published, tackles this exact situation that is created when Industry 4.0 entails the development of research in companies. This change in corporate culture needs to be comprehended fully, also in terms of its legal and contractual fallout and the organisation of production and work.

Tiraboschi, after outlining the general topic, puts the spotlight on the research jobs within companies (in terms of contractual positioning, career opportunities, remuneration and acknowledgements) and then reports what happens in companies with the legislative machine found in Italy (and hence with the financial incentives available to companies to conduct research). The underlying idea is that research in Italy is still closely associated with Academia and this could hinder the creation of researchers based on private companies and cooperation between the public and the private sectors.

So, there is not only a shortage of financial tools and major laws to set off corporate research properly, but perhaps first and foremost there is still a lack of a widespread corporate culture that manages to make that quality leap that has not yet been taken in the national manufacturing system. Tiraboschi efficiently sums up everything that needs to be read carefully.

Research Work in the Industry 4.0 Era: The Italian Case

Michele Tiraboschi

E-Journal of International and Comparative Labour Studies, Volume 6, No. 2, May-June 2017