Background to the research project

In the course of digitalization, the world of work is undergoing change. The current changes do not only lead to an integration of new technologies and tools into digitalized production processes. Rather, users and information systems must be able to deal with constantly growing amounts of data and information. Willful, controlled forgetting thus becomes the functional counterpart of data collection and learning. The learning study Manuthetics, conducted at the Chair of Processes and Systems, is part of the DFG priority program "Intentional Forgetting in Organizations" and investigates the intentional forgetting of overlearned, automatically executed routine activities that take place in the work context of business process-related activities.

What is Manuthetics?

Manuthetics is a scientific research experiment that investigates a human's interactions in the production process based on real-world, industrial production in factory manufacturing. The production laboratory of the Industry 4.0 Research and Application Center provides the basis for the project's experimental approach. Using a simulated production environment, test subjects can first learn a production process, which is then evaluated for different dependent variables with regard to forgetting performance as a result of the experimental runs. The basic assumption here is that behavior is activated by retrieval cues, such as checklists or a user interface.

Research questions and goals of Manuthetics

The simulated production line will explore how humans cope with changes in the production process and how they can be supported. In particular, it will be investigated how production processes and changed work routines are learned and under which circumstances what is learned is forgotten again. Various experiments are also used to test the contribution of reward, punishment or time pressure to the learning processes and how retrieval cues should be designed to support them.

How can organizations use the results?

Change is not only a problem of the new, but also of the old. Especially in the context of routinized actions, employees often backslide and tend to adopt old work habits. Consequently, successful changes can only be implemented effectively when old routines are no longer applied. The results of this research project can support any work context in which the behavior of individuals, groups or organizations is to be consciously changed.

Project partners and funding

The DFG-funded priority program "Intentional Forgetting in Organizations" consists of a total of nine projects of different questions in this context. The research questions and individual projects are interdisciplinary and are researched in tandem projects from different disciplines. The Chair of Processes and Systems works as a project team together with the Chair of Business Psychology at the Ruhr University Bochum.
Funding: 2016 - 2019