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Research project DigiWerk

Digitalization is increasingly reaching the occupational field of handcraft and is about to change the interaction with customers and stakeholders. As a result, work organization and everyday work are changing. Digitalization opens up opportunities for competitive advantages through new or changed products and services. However, it can also be stressful and requires, in terms of lifelong learning, a continuous competence adaptation of the employees and the organization. On the one hand, it enables for example extended product and service-portfolios, more efficient communication, better documentation as well as simpler and safer composition of work. As a result of this it offers the chance of improved competitiveness plus technical and social innovation. On the other hand, its leads to changed routines concerning work, roles and distribution of tasks, which can result in mental overload and work intensification that in turn can lead to fears, stress, resistance and health problems. The superior objective of the joint project is to develop, test and implement an application-oriented operational concept of action for SME in the occupational field of handcraft, in order to shape the digital future. This concept of action will include a digitization guideline including a self-assessment tool, digitization-training and consulting.

The BMBF research project DigiWerk (“Shaping the future in the occupational field of handcraft: Development, testing and implementation of an operational concept of action”) focuses on the largest ancillary construction trades, the sanitary-heating-air conditioning industry. The research project, which is strongly driven by corporate practice, involves six partners from business practice and two university partners.

At Heinrich-Heine-University the project is coordinated by the Chair of Business Administration, in particular Work, Human Resource Management and Organization Studies of Professor Dr. Stefan Süß and Dr. Lena Evertz (from May 2019 until July 2020), Annika Pestotnik (since July 2020) and Danina Mainka (since July 2020).

The research project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as part of the program “Zukunft der Arbeit” (02L18B020) and from the funds of the European Social Fund in Germany (ESF) and supervised by the Projektträger Karlsruhe (PTKA). The project will run for three years. The funding amount for all project partners is around 2 million euros, of which around 220,000 euros will go to the chair for Business Administration, in particular Work, Human Resource Management and Organization Studies.

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