Engineers' work on the move. challenges in automobile engineering in a globalized world

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Engineering Studies, Volume 2, Issue 3 (2011)



engineers’ work"informatization"globalization"Engineering"Germany


Engineering work in the German automotive industry is currently being dictated
by corporate reorganization processes. These are driven by processes of
informatization, financialization, and globalization, and evince an increase in
the (global) division of labor in product development, as well as an increase in
competitive pressures. Being able to deal with information and knowledge is
important for coping with these processes at work. In terms of engineers’ work,
this means that engineers must be able to deal with the increasing amounts of
information available in the form of benchmark figures, data, etc., as well as with
the challenges presented by work shared in global networks. This paper presents
the results of a series of qualitative interviews. The main trends that can be
pointed out are the ‘enucleation’ (removing the core) of engineering work, the loss
of autonomy, increasing insecurity, and the changing materiality of the objects
worked on. Enucleation processes are increasingly changing older engineers’ fields
of work. More and more, they are being called upon to take over communication
and coordination practices. In connection with increasing insecurity, employees’
perception of their own position in the company is changing and, in the end, their
strategies of action, as well.

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