Working with Bounded Collaboration: A Qualitative Study on How Collaboration is Co-constructed around Collaborative Robots in Industry

Eun Jeong Cheon, Eike Schneiders, Mikael B. Skov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

We investigate how collaboration is understood and configured in industrial workplaces with collaborative robots (cobots). Through a qualitative analysis of 115 case studies of companies using cobots and 14 semi-structured interviews with cobot manufacturers and users, we examine the usages of cobots in the manufacturing industry over the entire temporal spectrum from pre-introduction to completed implementation. By synthesizing diverse stakeholders' perspectives, we present a set of main findings; key roles of a few supportive production workers during the adoption of cobots; a fragmentation of work tasks and the resulting loss of job identity among workers; the disunified meaning of "collaboration"which is under constant development; and the collaborative space and the working rhythms between production workers and cobots. By reconsidering what collaboration means in the workplace with cobots, we propose the concept of bounded collaboration, which means that the anticipated collaboration is manifested in a partial and limited manner within a collaborative technology. Finally, we provide practical suggestions for examining and supporting organizations and users in their adoption of cobots.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number369
JournalProceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction
Volume6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 11 2022

Keywords

  • bounded collaboration
  • cobots
  • collaborative robots
  • manufacturing industry
  • the future of work

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Networks and Communications

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