Drivers and barriers of Industry 4.0 technology adoption among manufacturing SMEs: A systematic review and transformation roadmap

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management




School of Business and Law




European Regional Development Fund / Research Council of Lithuania / Funded as European Union's measure in response to Cov-19 pandemic


Ghobakhloo, M., Iranmanesh, M., Vilkas, M., Grybauskas, A., & Amran, A. (2022). Drivers and barriers of industry 4.0 technology adoption among manufacturing SMEs: A systematic review and transformation roadmap. Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMTM-12-2021-0505


Purpose: The present study offers a holistic but detailed understanding of the factors that might affect small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies to empower smaller businesses to embrace Industry 4.0. Design/methodology/approach: The study conducted a systematic review of the literature and drew on the technology-organization-environment framework to identify various technological, organizational and environmental determinants of Industry 4.0 technology adoption and their underlying components. The study applied the textual narrative synthesis to extract findings from the eligible articles and interpret them into the Industry 4.0 technology adoption roadmap. Findings: Industry 4.0 is a vital strategic option to SMEs, enabling them to keep up with the digitalization race. SMEs significantly lag behind large organizations in benefiting from disruptive Industry 4.0 technologies. SMEs are still struggling with the initial adoption decisions regarding the digital transformation under Industry 4.0. Results identified various determinants that might explain this condition. The study developed a digitalization roadmap that describes the necessary conditions for facilitating SMEs’ digitalization under Industry 4.0. Practical implications: Various technological, organizational and environmental factors might determine the current positioning of SMEs against Industry 4.0. These determinants can act as barriers or drivers depending on their properties. The roadmap describes determinants indispensable to promoting Industry 4.0 technology adoption among SMEs, such as knowledge competencies or value chain digitalization readiness. Originality/value: Exclusively focusing on empirical research that reported applied insights into Industry 4.0 technology adoption, the study offers unique implications for promoting Industry 4.0 digital transformation among SMEs.



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