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Design work in change: social conditions and results of CAD use in mechanical engineering

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2 Author(s)
F. Manske ; SOFI, Gottingen, West Germany ; H. Wolf

The findings presented on the use of CAD (computer-aided design) in West Germany's mechanical engineering industry show that CAD is used in various ways by different firms and thus effects working conditions in diverse ways. The various production structures used by the single-piece, half-standardized, and standardized series producers are considered to be the most important factors for explaining this circumstance. In addition, however, the influence of various interest groups in the firms concerning the introduction process also has to be stressed. In view of their research findings, the authors argue against using the over-simplifications and rash generalizations regarding the reduction of personnel, Taylorism, and deskilling that dominated the discussion during the early days of CAD. They regard the changes taking place at the level of the microstructures of designing to be basically the general consequences of the use of CAD. These changes have until the present had little influence on the division of labor and the development of skills. The authors suggest that the latter depend on the various concepts of CAD utilization. The following trends were discovered in this respect: within the field of design, skilled jobs retain their skill level; some already deskilled jobs disappear; and new jobs are being created for CAD experts in the fields of CAD development and support

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management  (Volume:36 ,  Issue: 4 )