Knowledge work in aircraft maintenance

In the face of industry 4.0 knowledge and information are becoming increasingly important as future production factors. Particularly in technical occupations, the changes that the development of skilled work to the so-called knowledge work brings, can be long felt in daily business. Among other things, Industry 4.0 is characterized by rapid technical developments that are making the work environment increasingly complex. For a so called knowledge worker knowledge and information become the most precious resource. The topic of knowledge work includes activities of information processing and knowledge development, placing the knowledge worker at the centre of consideration. Publications however allow only cautious predictions regarding the importance of the described change for skilled workers, which is a starting point for the theoretically research. Knowledge work is – for the relevance of the topic – too little considered, moreover the few appropriate analyses mostly focus just academic vocations, not the non-academic but highly skilled work which is implemented in German economy. An international perspective shows that knowledge work can be found predominantly in production-related technically rapidly developing areas with a high proportion of skilled workers. The study should make a contribution to explore knowledge work in an production related area. With handbook-supported expert interviews, it is therefore analysed how exactly the aircraft mechanics and avionics of Lufthansa Technik AG actual jobs correspond with knowledge work and secondly how they perceive knowledge work and by this, assess it. The evaluation of the data has shown that knowledge work in aircraft maintenance represents the criteria novelty complexity and the double field of action. The mechanics and avionics originally carry out knowledge work or knowledge work as a profession, which means that a clear determination of the knowledge work can be made by the collected data. We resume that the proportion of knowledge intensive activities in aircraft maintenance increases with the complexity, systems and components of the aircraft. The amount of information and the resulting requirements for the employees increase accordingly, which is why a further increase in knowledge-intensive aircraft maintenance activities is to be expected. Based on the findings of this study as well as the theoretical consideration of the topic, consequences are derived and concrete recommendations for the practice are given.

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