An institutional perspective in the industry 4.0 scenario: A systematic literature review

Diego Fogaça, Mercedes Grijalvo, Mario Sacomano Neto


Purpose: The growing adoption of Industry 4.0 offers opportunities and promotes changes in markets, business models, supply chains and operations. However, adopting new technologies and practices is beyond the simple rational decision and the search for efficiency. There are contextual social and cultural systems that influence the behavior of people and organizations. Hence, institutional theory can yield interesting insights in the study of Industry 4.0. The purpose of this article is to examine how and to what extent institutional theory has been used to explain Industry 4.0.

Design/methodology/approach: A systematic literature review of Industry 4.0 and the broader field of digitalization was performed using Scopus, Web of Science and Google Scholar. The authors analyzed the results using multivariate techniques (Descending Hierarchical Classification and Correspondence Factor Analysis) with the aid of the IRAMUTEQ software.

Findings: Results indicate there is little research that uses an institutional perspective to investigate Industry 4.0. Most of them are quantitative and are based on the concept of institutional isomorphism. Qualitative studies, e.g., case studies and the use of theories such as institutional logics and institutional work could generate a richer comprehension of Industry 4.0. Besides, consideration of meso (e.g., organizational fields) and macro (e.g., countries) level of analysis should be more extensively explored.

Originality/value: This paper identifies research gaps and points to relevant issues frequently not considered by researchers and practitioners. It reinforces a call for an institutional perspective where the concept of Industry 4.0 can be understood as a rationalized myth. Therefore, the meaning, practices, and consequences of Industry 4.0 implementation are expected to vary across organizations and countries.


Industry 4.0, digitization, digital transformation, institutional theory, neo-institutionalism, isomorphism, institutional logics

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Licencia de Creative Commons 

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Journal of Industrial Engineering and Management, 2008-2024

Online ISSN: 2013-0953; Print ISSN: 2013-8423; Online DL: B-28744-2008

Publisher: OmniaScience