Future Expectations of the German Textile Industry: The Role of Tradition on the Threshold of the Fourth Industrial Revolution


Robert Peters, Dipl.-Wirtl.,

Berater / Consultant

Demografie, Cluster und Zukunftsforschung / Demography, Clusters and Foresight

VDI/VDE Innovation + Technik GmbH, Steinplatz 1, Berlin

September 2019



In this paper, I examine the role of tradition in the German textile industry with regard to how SMEs will manage future technological change. The study is based on a sample of 38 semi-structured in-depth interviews with C-level executives from German textile manufacturing companies and textile machinery manufacturing companies. The results indicate that tradition is a relevant factor that influences the way in which enterprises behave when faced with technological changes at various levels: marketing, technology management, human resources and corporate culture. Tradition does matter and can be a key resource for SMEs poised on the threshold of Industry 4.0.