The focus of the following article is on the use of new robotic systems in the manufacturing industry with respect to the social dimension. Since “intuitive” human–machine interaction (HMI) in robotic systems becomes a significant objective of technical progress, new models of work organization are needed. This hypothesis will be investigated through the following two aims: The first aim is to identify relevant research questions related to the potential use of robotic systems in different systems of work organization at the manufacturing shop-floor level. The second aim is to discuss the conceptualization of (old) organizational problems of human–robot interaction (HRI). In this context, the article reflects on the limits of cognitive and perceptual workload for robot operators in complex working systems. This will be particularly relevant whenever more robots with different “roles” are to be increasingly used in the manufacturing industry. The integration of such complex socio-technical systems needs further empirical and conceptual research with regard to “social” aspects of the technical dimension. Future research should, therefore, also integrate economic and societal issues to understand the full dimensions of new human–robot interaction in industry today.
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