International Journal of

Business & Management Studies

ISSN 2694-1430 (Print), ISSN 2694-1449 (Online)
DOI: 10.56734/ijbms
Knowledge Intensive Smes In Transition To Society 4.0: Evidence From The Czech Republic


SMEs have significant role in the area of economy, social and environmental area and also in the areas of social and regional development. The dawn of the Society 4.0 driven by the exponential growth of performance of disruptive technologies of Industry 4.0 is reinforcing the role of knowledge intensive services. University of West Bohemia in partnership with the Institute of Technology and Business in České Budějovice focused on the adaptation of this segment of businesses in the project „Knowledge-intensive services sector adaptation to the conditions of Society 4.0“, supported by the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic. The paper aims to attract attention of the broader community to the project findings and outcomes, to present main research outcomes related to adaptation of SMEs in the service sector, to introduce new insights and approaches to academic and professional community, especially to managers of companies undergoing the transformation process to Industry 4.0 and Society 4.0 conditions, and to raise the level of the knowledge base in the field of SMEs adaptation. The results of qualitative and quantitative research show that most of the companies that answered the questionnaire and participated in interviews were small and micro companies with positive approach to the forthcoming changes, however, there still remains a lot of space for improvement. Companies often use open innovation model to apply knowledge from external resources, as they miss the necessary capacities and face difficult access to financial resources for demanding investments in new technologies and, sometimes, lack of necessary competencies. Relatively low attention is paid to risk management, whose role in current volatile situations becomes extremely important and the company resilience often determines the company failure or success. The project contributed to development of proposals of activities, methods and tools that can contribute to reducing barriers on the road to Society 4.0 related not only to new technologies, but also to broader socioeconomic context, including transformations of jobs and job market. The unavoidable changes of the structure of economy, supply chains, education and training were further emphasized by covid pandemics and current war in Ukraine.