Social impacts of additive manufacturing: A stakeholder-driven framework

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Additive manufacturing (AM), also known as 3D Printing, is believed to be a disruptive technology, and therefore the assessment of its ensuing sustainability impacts is necessary. The insufficient evidence in extant literature addressing the social impacts of AM suggests that the social sustainability aspect of this technology has received scant attention. The current study addresses this knowledge gap through a critical literature review that leads to the identification of 42 AM social impacts and their association with relevant stakeholders, shaping a social life cycle typology that indicates to what extent each stakeholder is affected by AM. Additionally, a set of illustrative indicators for measuring some of the identified AM social impacts are proposed. Finally, the findings are summarized in the form of a framework that can help future research to holistically investigate the social sustainability implications of AM technology.

Original languageEnglish
Article number120368
JournalTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • 3D printing
  • Additive manufacturing
  • Review
  • Social impacts
  • Stakeholders


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