Information Society, Work and the Generation of New Forms of Social Exclusion (SOWING)

  • Project team:

    Bechmann, Gotthard (Project leader); Günter Frederichs; Bettina-Johanna Krings

  • Funding:

    European Commission

  • Start date:


  • End date:


  • Project partners:

    FORBA, Austria; HIVA, Belgium; IES, England; IHRES, Italy; NEXUS, Ireland; University of Lisbon, Portugal; WRC, Finland (lead institution)

  • Research group:

    Innovation processes and impacts of technology

Project description

In the SOWING project the emphasis is on the transformation of economic structures in the information society. The project correspondingly concentrates on questions of the organisational renewal of production and service companies and developments in the world of work. The theoretical core of the project is defined by the term "technological practice". On the one hand this describes structural movements in technology use and development in the work process: forms of the task sharing and cooperation, forms of control and the emergence cultural model. On the other hand the term covers actor-related aspects: competence, knowledge, skills and management approaches.

Technology, organisation and corporate culture are viewed as co-evolutionary processes which are in principle open to social design, but are also subject to structural conditions. Specifically the term "technological practice" extends not only to the formal organisational structures of companies, but also the formal and informal structures of labour, in order to explore e.g. the question of the manifestation of new forms of social exclusion in connection with the new technologies.

The empirical part covers three elements:

  • A survey of 100 firms selected at random from the production and services sector in each of the eight regions,
  • an empirical study of the market, political and social conditions in each region,
  • in-depth case studies at ten selected firms in each region.

For further information see SOWING web-site:


Book Chapters
Krings, B. J.
Hen or egg? The relationship between Ic-technologies and social exclusion
2003. Bechmann, G. [Hrsg.] Across the Divide : Work, Organization and Social Exclusion in the European Information Society Berlin : Ed.Sigma, 2003 (Gesellschaft - Technik - Umwelt ; N.F.3), 123–38 
Journal Articles
Krings, B.-J.; Moniz, A. B.
Competencia y cooperación sobre el desarrollo sociocultural de la sociedad de la información
2002. Sociología del trabajo : ST ; revista cuatrimestral de empleo, trabajo y sociedad, (44), 125–143 
Moniz, A. B.; Krings, B. J.; Hootegem, G. van; Huys, R.
Technological practices in the European auto industry: exploring cases from Belgium, Germany and Portugal
2002. International Journal of Automotive Technology, 2, 84–100 
Book Chapters
Bechmann, G.; Frederichs, G.; Krings, B.-J.
Information Society, Work and the Generation of new Forms of social Exclusion (SOWING)
2001. 1999/2000 Jahrbuch des Instituts für Technikfolgenabschätzung und Systemanalyse (ITAS). Hrsg.: A. Grunwald, 158–163, Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe (FZKA) 
Conference Papers
Krings, B.-J.
Co-Operation or Competition? New Models of Work Organisation in the Information Society
2001. Innovations for an e- Society. Challenges for Technology Assessment. Congress Pre-Prints, 1–11, VDI/VDE-Technologiezentrum Informationstechnik 
Bechmann, G.
The Development of the Information Society and Globalisation of Work - Information Technologies, new Forms of Work and Change in firm Culture
2001. Congresso Internatioal de Tecnologias de la Information y su Reprecusion en la Sociedad Actual (2001), Puebla City, Mexico, August 22–24, 2001 
Bechmann, G.
Globalisierung der Arbeit und der Einsatz von Informations- und Kommunikationstechnologien
2001. Vortr.: Evangelische Akademie, Bad Herrenalb, 26.Januar 2001 
Moniz, A. B.; Hootegem, G. van; Krings, B. J.
Technological practices in the European auto industry: exploring cases from Belgium, Germany and Portugal
2001. 9th International Colloquium "Reconfiguring the Auto Industry : Merger and Acquisition, Alliances and Exit" (GERPISA 2001), Paris, France, June 7–9, 2001 
Book Chapters
Bechmann, G.
Concepts of Information Society and the Social Function of Information
2000. Towards the Information Society: The Case of Central and Eastern European Countries. Hrsg.: G. Banse, 37–52, Springer-Verlag 
Bechmann, G.
Neue Informationstechnologien und das Problem der “Social Exclusion” - zu EU-Projekt “SOWING”
2000. Vortrag, Universität Stuttgart (2000), Stuttgart, Germany, July 18, 2000 
Frederichs, G.; Krings, B. J.
The role of labour and working conditions for sustainability
2000. 3rd Internat.Conf.of the European Society for Ecological Economics on Transitions towards Sustainable Europe, Ecology - Economy - Policy, Wien, A, May 3-6, 2000 Abstracts 
Journal Articles
Bechmann, G.
Soziale Folgen des Übergangs in die Informationsgesellschaft
1999. Fachhochschule Ingolstadt, Vortragsreihe: Informationsgesellschaft (1999), Ingolstadt, Germany, December 22, 1999 
Bechmann, G.
Vom Buchdruck zum Computer. Bemerkungen zur Evolution gesellschaftlicher Kommunikation
1999. ’Information Society’, Internat.Konf.der russischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Moskva, Russia, 24.-26.September 1999 
Bechmann, G.
Zum Begriff und zur Konzeption der Informationsgesellschaft - Gesellschaft als Informationsgesellschaft?
1999. Workshop der Tschechischen Akademie der Wissenschaften ’Von der Informationsgesellschaft zur Wissensgesellschaft’, Praha, CZ, 3.-5.Februar 1999 
Bechmann, G.; Frederichs, G.
Sociological aspects on the definition of information. Some remarks on a theoretical problem in the SOWING project
1999. Conf.’Information Society Changes: Organisation, Work and Employment’, Lisboa, P, February 12, 1999 
Bechmann, G.; Schienstock, G.
Information society - a new form of technology practice and learning
1998. Jahrestagung der European Association for Study of ScienceTechnology (EASST 1998), Lisboa, Peru, October 1–3, 1998 


Prof. Dr. Gotthard Bechmann
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS)
P.O. Box 3640
76021 Karlsruhe