Positive transformation towards the Fourth Industrial Revolution: empirical evidence from a technology company

Claude Hélène Mayer, Rudolf M. Oosthuizen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


This article explores the question of how organizations can transform constructively and positively towards the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). It presents insights into the state of the art on 4IR, positive psychology movements PP1.0 and PP2.0 and particularly on German organizations in the 4IR within the South African context. The study uses a qualitative research approach and presents findings from a study conducted with 16 managers across top, middle and lower management levels in a German engineering organization, based in South Africa, operating in Southern Africa. Findings, discussion, conclusions and recommendations provide insights into emerging themes on the 4IR from perspectives that take the context of discourses on the 4IR in developed and developing countries into account. Findings show the importance of five main themes when transforming into the 4IR: (1) Employee management; (2) Innovative technological and systemic change; (3) Work organization; (4) Environment and (5) Network and cooperation. Human communication and connectivity and a balanced human–machine interaction seem to build the core framework for constructive socio-technological change and a meaningful work environment. Thereby, a focus on the positive transformation requires working through the challenges and dark sides of the 4IR as well as a contextual and culture-specific approach to finally create a meaningful, healthy and optimal functioning work environment for the employees.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)659-672
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Review of Psychiatry
Issue number7-8
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR)
  • Germany
  • PP2.0)
  • Positive psychology (PP1.0
  • South Africa
  • balanced human-machine interaction
  • developing country
  • human communication
  • human connection
  • technological advancement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental Health


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