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Nr. 2: Ohlert, C./ Giering, O./ Kirchner, S. (2020) Digital transformation as a segmented process. Empirical findings from a large German employer survey

The view of a technologically determined, seamless and comprehensive digitalization has provoked sociological counter-arguments, claiming that digitalization processes are shaped by the interaction of technical and social conditions within systems of work and production. This paper engages with this controversy by analysing the most recent data from the German IAB Establishment Panel, which contains information on firms’ usage of a variety of digital technologies. From a sociological perspective, we argue that digitalization unfolds in a highly segmented process. We show that establishments’ usage of digital technologies differs substantially by industry, firm size, firm age, the extent of competitive pressure and the employee structure in the firm. Different new digital technologies are dependent on similar drivers and limitations at the firm level. Hence, our results support the idea that social embeddedness differentiates digitalization processes, resulting in a particular segmentation of firms’ work and production systems.

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