Leadership Skills in the age of digitization - The context of the firm matters

The study at hand focusses on the leadership skills that are essential for a successful digital transformation of firms. Based on qualitative interviews with executive leaders and stakeholders of a range of companies, we extracted three leadership skill types for a digital transformation as well as digitized companies. Our generated typology emphasizes the importance of context of the company, when evaluating skill portfolio that might be critical for a successful digital transformation: Leaders of highly digitized, large companies have a holistic approach to leadership. They consider a wide range of competencies important for a leader of a digitized or digitizing company, while leaders of small and medium sized companies (SME) have a more focussed view: Leaders of SME involved in services and manufacturing favour soft skills over IT competencies, while leaders of SME which are focussing on handcraft favour IT skills and self-competences over social skills. Based on our results, we recommend for policy makers to focus on the context and characteristics of different companies rather than deriving one-size-fits-all solutions for supporting digital transformation.

Bijedic, T.; Paschke, M.; Pasing, P.; Schröder, C. (2018): Digitalisierungskompetenzen in der Führungsebene im Mittelstand, in: IfM Bonn, IfM-Materialien Nr. 272, Bonn.

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