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THE DETERMINANTS OF FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION LEADERSHIP DEXTERITY: A PROPOSED FRAMEWORK FOR 4IR-INTELLIGENCE AND SUBSEQUENT 4IR LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT

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Civilisation finds itself at the dawn of a revolution considered to be the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). The introduction of new business models, the disruption of sectors and the reshaping of socio-economic systems are all evidence of the profound changes taking place across all industries, unlike previously experienced in history. From the premise of the evident leadership challenges and opportunities inherent to 4IR, this position paper propagates a 10-type intelligence framework (Fourth Industrial Revolution Intelligence Framework), consisting of Contextual Intelligence (CI), Emotional Intelligence (EI), Inspired Intelligence (II), Physical Intelligence (PI), Entrepreneurial Intelligence (EntI), Strategic Intelligence (SI), Transdisciplinary Intelligence (TI), Ecosystem Intelligence (EcoI), Socratic Intelligence (SocI), and, Ethical Intelligence (EthI). The intent of the framework is for leaders to develop and apply the 10-type intelligence proposition in order to adapt, shape and harness the potential of disruption brought about by 4IR. Applying critical interpretive synthesis, previous scholarly text and Winston and Paterson’s (2006) ‘Integrative Definition of Leadership’ was used as basis for evaluating the leadership schema through the lens of 4IR. The resultant framework could serve as leadership developmental agenda, as well as create greater awareness of 4IR and setting a valuable foundation from where further research can be undertaken.
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THE DETERMINANTS OF FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION LEADERSHIP
DEXTERITY: A PROPOSED FRAMEWORK FOR 4IR-INTELLIGENCE AND
SUBSEQUENT 4IR LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT
Dr JH Oosthuizen
Milpark Business School
Corresponding Author:
Dr JH Oosthuizen
P.O Box 91714
Auckland Park
Johannesburg
2006
Telephone number: (011) 718-4000
Fax number: (011) 718-4001
E-mail address: Cobus.Oosthuizen@Milpark.ac.za
Key words: Fourth Industrial Revolution, 4IR,
THE DETERMINANTS OF FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION LEADERSHIP
DEXTERITY: A PROPOSED FRAMEWORK FOR 4IR-INTELLIGENCE AND
SUBSEQUENT 4IR LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT
ABSTRACT
Civilisation finds itself at the dawn of a revolution considered to be the Fourth Industrial
Revolution (4IR). The introduction of new business models, the disruption of sectors and the
reshaping of socio-economic systems are all evidence of the profound changes taking place
across all industries, unlike previously experienced in history. From the premise of the evident
leadership challenges and opportunities inherent to 4IR, this position paper propagates a 10-
type intelligence framework (Fourth Industrial Revolution Intelligence Framework), consisting
of Contextual Intelligence (CI), Emotional Intelligence (EI), Inspired Intelligence (II), Physical
Intelligence (PI), Entrepreneurial Intelligence (EntI), Strategic Intelligence (SI),
Transdisciplinary Intelligence (TI), Ecosystem Intelligence (EcoI), Socratic Intelligence (SocI),
and, Ethical Intelligence (EthI). The intent of the framework is for leaders to develop and apply
the 10-type intelligence proposition in order to adapt, shape and harness the potential of
disruption brought about by 4IR. Applying critical interpretive synthesis, previous scholarly text
and Winston and Paterson’s (2006) ‘Integrative Definition of Leadership’ was used as basis
for evaluating the leadership schema through the lens of 4IR. The resultant framework could
serve as leadership developmental agenda, as well as create greater awareness of 4IR and
setting a valuable foundation from where further research can be undertaken.
1. INTRODUCTION
When observing contemporary leadership through the lens of the profound changes taking
place across all industries, numerous challenges become apparent on a macro-, mezzo, and
micro level. In terms of the world of work for example, Lorenz, Rüßmann, Strack, Lueth, and
Bolle (2015:3) are of the view that a workforce transformation is on the horizon because of
technological advancement; collectively known as “Industry 4.0.” Schwab (2016) also
postulates that humankind finds itself at the beginning of a revolution he considers to be the
Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), and observes that “in its scale, scope, and complexity,
the transformation will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before. 4IR is evolving
at an exponential rate, not only changing the “what” and the “how” of doing things but also
“who” we are, as we experience the transformation of entire systems, across (and within)
countries, companies, industries and society. Schwab (2016) further states that although it is
not clear how it will unfold, it is of necessity that the “response to it must be integrated and
comprehensive, involving all stakeholders of the global polity, from the public and private
sectors to academia and civil society.”
Considering the evident challenges and opportunities inherent to 4IR, Schwab (2016)
subsequently calls for the mobilisation of the collective wisdom of people’s minds, hearts and
souls to adapt, shape and harness the potential of disruption. The leadership imperative in
this call is evident; however, if leadership is about influencing others to accomplish common
objectives and directing an organisation in ways to achieve cohesiveness and coherency
(Sharma & Jain, 2013:310), the question then beckons, how should it be done to navigate
4IR? Lord, Dinh and Hoffman (2015:264) contest that the future offers many potentialities,
which they define as “alternative states and possible outcomes that could occur but have not
yet occurred because, to be actualised, they require the enactment of individual, social, and
environmental events that are often serendipitous.” Consequently, leadership could be
regarded as the requisite active agent in the realisation of this enactment. But at the
individual level of analysis, what would a leader require to lead in 4IR characterised by
unprecedented complexity and uncertainty?
Drawing on Winston and Paterson’s (2006) “Integrative Definition of Leadership” which was
the result of a study that uncovered over 90 variables that may comprise the whole of
leadership, this conceptual paper sets out to investigate leadership through the lens of 4IR by
applying Critical Interpretive Synthesis, and to propose a framework for “4IR-Intelligence” to
serve as 4IR leadership development agenda.
2. PROBLEM INVESTIGATED
Technological advancement is increasingly transforming the way we work, live, communicate,
travel and socialise, which, at the rate it is going, could fundamentally alter life, as we know it.
So profound could it be that Kurzweill (2005:22) predicts a future period during which the pace
of technological change will be so rapid, its impact so deep, that human life will be irreversibly
transformed. Humankind finds itself in an age of unprecedented digital technological progress,
which will continue to improve, bringing about not only beneficial transformations, but also
profound challenges, likely to bring economic disruption (Schwab, 2016). It is very plausible
that as computers get more powerful, companies will have less need for some categories of
employees (Brynjolfsson & McAfee, 2014:9-11), thereby accentuating the challenges of
leadership. Increasingly, machine algorithms are applied in intellectual tasks that were once
the exclusive domain of humans, and both ends of the occupational spectrum (high- and low-
end) are likely to be impacted as software automation and machine learning advances (Ford,
2013:37-38).
Most technologies that will have a big impact on the world in five or ten years from now are
already in limited use, while technologies that will reshape the world in less than fifteen years
probably exist as laboratory prototypes (Bostrom, 2014:4). Although many are still in early
stages of development, they are already introducing an inflection point as they build on and
amplify each other in a synthesis of technologies across the physical, digital and biological
worlds (Schwab, 2016).
This dramatic increase in development of technology and its impact on life in its broadest
terms can thus not be negated, which puts leadership at the centre of the paradox of beneficial
transformations and profound challenges. However, how should leaders position themselves
for a future of exponential automation across the various sectors of the economy? How should
leadership practice evolve to navigate the anticipated disruptions to organisations and
associated impact on the social fabric? Chui, Manyika, and Miremadi (2015) posit that the
organisational and leadership implications are profound and that, from leaders to front line
managers, will need to redefine jobs and processes to ensure organisational longevity.
3. RESEARCH OBJECTIVES
Against this backdrop, the objectives of this conceptual paper are threefold: Firstly, to
investigate leadership through the lens of 4IR; secondly, to propose a 4IR-Intelligence
framework for leadership developmental purposes; and thirdly, to create greater awareness
of 4IR amongst scholars and practitioners.
4. LITERATURE REVIEW
4.1 The 4IR landscape
The rapid technological advancement that is increasingly transforming the way we work, live,
and communicate, fundamentally altering our lives day by day appears to contrast
contemporary leadership. Thus, leadership in the wake of technology’s exponential
advancement should be of particular importance to scholars and practitioners. This section’s
aim is therefore to review the state of technological advancements, and how it relates to
leadership.
Bostrom (2014:255) states that we find ourselves in an era of strategic complexity,
characterised by uncertainty. Albeit that many considerations have been determined, their
details and interrelationships remain unclear and dubious, and there might be other factors
we have not even considered yet. Brynjolfsson and McAfee (2014:9-11) refer to three broad
conclusions, namely (1) finding ourselves in a time of profound digital technological progress,
(2) the potential benefits to be brought about by digital technology, and (3) the potential thorny
challenges brought about by digitisation; emphasising that it should not be surprising, as “even
the most beneficial developments have unpleasant consequences that must be managed”
(Brynjolfsson & McAfee (2014:11). The World Economic Forum (2015:5) identified six
software and services megatrends which are shaping society, namely (1) people and the
internet, (2) computing, communications and storage everywhere, (3) the Internet of Things,
(4) artificial intelligence (AI) and big data, (5) the sharing economy and distributed trust, and
(6) the digitisation of matter.
In terms of the world of work, Lorenz et al (2015:5) lists the top ten effects of industry 4.0 on
the workforce as being (1) big-data driven quality control, (2) robot-assisted production, (3)
self-driving logistic vehicles, (4) production line simulation, (5) smart supply network, (6)
predictive maintenance, (7) machines as a service, (8) self-organising production, (9) additive
manufacturing of complex parts, and (10) augmented work, maintenance, and service.
Although there’s never been a better time to be a worker with special skills or the right
education Brynjolfsson and McAfee (2014:11) contest that the technological progress could
leave many people behind, because computers, robots, and other digital technologies are
acquiring ordinary skills and abilities at an extraordinary rate.
A more optimistic argument by Stewart, De and Cole (2015:1) highlight how technology has
led to overall job creation in the past. The direct effects are that technology substitutes labour,
raising productivity and lowering prices, and sectors which are the source of technological
innovation expand rapidly, demanding increased labour. The indirect effects are that
technology complements labour, leading to improved outcomes in sectors which subsequently
expand and generate new demand for labour. In addition, lower costs of production and prices
enable consumers to shift spending to more discretionary goods and services, generating new
demand for labour (Stewart et al., 2015:1)
Although senior managers are far from obsolete, machine learning is progressing at a rapid
pace, and executives need to become adept in creating innovative new organisational forms
needed to manage in an age of machine intelligence; accentuating creative abilities,
leadership skills, and strategic thinking (McAfee, Goldbloom, Brynjolfsson & Howard, 2014).
It is, however, evident that predictions about the future development of technology, such as
artificial intelligence, are as self-assured as they are diverse, and whether value can be
extracted from the breadth and diversity of predictions is questioned (Armstrong, Sotala &
ÓhÉigeartaigh, 2014:317). The research of Armstrong et al. (2014) highlights the problems
with expert judgement, in theory and in practice, and that timeline predictions prove to be
mostly unreliable, generally containing little useful information.
Nevertheless, the dramatic increase in development of technology and its impact on
leadership practice in the future cannot be negated, but coupled to that, the way in which
knowledge is being constructed in relation thereto also proves to be lacking scientific rigour
and subsequent leadership practice implications.
4.2 The Leadership Foundation
The topic of leadership has fascinated people for centuries, with as many definitions as there
are differences (Kreitner & Kinicki, 2004:595); hence remaining a somewhat elusive concept
difficult to define precisely. Evidently the disagreement on the definition of leadership is mainly
because it involves a complex interaction among the leader, the followers, and the situation.
Because of this fragmentation, this study draws on the work of Winston and Paterson (2006)
who conceptualised an integrated framework for leadership following their study that identified
over 90 variables that may comprise the whole of leadership. The essence of their integrated
definition is summarised in the 23 points (page number in brackets) below (ibid.):
1. “A leader is one or more people (8)
2. who selects, equips, trains, and influences (9)
3. one or more follower(s) who have diverse gifts, abilities, and skills (10)
4. and focuses the follower(s) to the organisation’s mission and objectives (11)
5. causing the follower(s) to willingly and enthusiastically expend spiritual, emotional, and
physical energy (12)
6. in a concerted coordinated effort to achieve the organisational mission and objectives
(13)
7. The leader achieves this influence by humbly conveying a prophetic vision of the future
in clear terms that resonates with the follower(s) beliefs and values (14)
8. such that the follower(s) can understand and interpret the future into present-time action
steps (15)
9. In this process, the leader presents the prophetic vision in contrast to the present status
of the organisation (16)
10. and through the use of critical thinking skills, insight, intuition, and the use of both
persuasive rhetoric and interpersonal communication including both active listening and
positive discourse, facilitates and draws forth the opinions and beliefs of the followers
(17)
11. such that the followers move through ambiguity toward clarity of understanding and
shared insight (20)
12. that results in influencing the follower(s) to see and accept the future state of the
organisation as a desirable condition worth committing personal and corporate
resources toward its achievement. (20)
13. The leader achieves this using ethical means and seeks the greater good of the
follower(s) in the process of action steps such that the follower(s) is/are better off as a
result of the interaction with the leader. (20)
14. The leader achieves this same state for him/herself as he/she seeks personal growth,
renewal, regeneration, and increased stamina mental, physical, emotional, and
spiritual through the leader-follower interactions. (21)
15. The leader recognizes the diversity of the follower(s) and achieves unity of common
values and directions without destroying the uniqueness of the person. (21)
16. The leader accomplishes this through innovative flexible means of education, training,
support, and protection (22)
17. that provide each follower with what the follower needs within the reason and scope of
the organisation’s resources and accommodations relative to the value of accomplishing
the organisation’s objectives and the growth of the follower. (23)
18. The leader, in this process of leading, enables the follower(s) to be innovative as well as
self-directed within the scope of individual-follower assignments and allows the
follower(s) to learn from his/her/their own, as well as others’ successes, mistakes, and
failures along the process of completing the organisation’s objectives. (24)
19. The leader accomplishes this by building credibility and trust with the followers through
interaction and feedback to and with the followers that shapes the followers’ values,
attitudes, and behaviours towards risk, failure, and success. (25)
20. In doing this, the leader builds the followers’ sense of self-worth and self-efficacy such
that both the leader and followers are willing and ready to take calculated risks in making
decisions to meet the organisation’s goals/objectives and through repeated process
steps of risk-taking and decision-making the leader and followers together change the
organisation to best accomplish the organisation’s objectives. (27)
21. The leader recognises the impact and importance of audiences outside of the
organisation’s system and presents the organisation to the outside audiences in such a
manner that the audiences have a clear impression of the organisation’s purpose and
goals and can clearly see the purpose and goals lived out in the life of the leader. (28)
22. In so doing, the leader examines the fit of the organisation relative to the outside
environment and shapes both the organisation and the environment to the extent of the
leader’s capability to insure the best fit between the organisation and the outside
environment. (29)
23. The leader throughout each leader-follower-audience interaction demonstrates his/her
commitment to the values of: (a) humility, (b) concern for others, (c) controlled discipline,
(d) seeking what is right and good for the organisation, (e) showing mercy in beliefs and
actions with all people, (f) focusing on the purpose of the organisation and on the well-
being of the followers, and (g) creating and sustaining peace in the organisation not a
lack of conflict but a place where peace grows. (30)
Utilising the above exhaustive delineation of leadership as foundation, the next section
introduces intelligence as paradigm to further augment the leadership schema in 4IRs context.
4.3 The “intelligence” paradigm
Schwab (2016) argues that the challenges of 4IR can only be meaningfully addressed if the
collective wisdom of people’s minds, hearts and souls are mobilised. To do so, Schwab (2016)
contests the need to adapt, shape and harness the potential of disruption by nurturing and
applying four different types of intelligence, namely, contextual (the mind), emotional (the
heart), inspired (the soul), physical (the body). Oosthuizen (2016) expanded on Schwab’s
(2016) proposition through the addition of entrepreneurial intelligence (as disposition type of
intelligence), thereby increasing the potential of realisation of real impact and value creating
solutions. Thus, how we recognise opportunity through synthesis of the whole and creative
combination of resources.
But what is intelligence? Legg and Hutter (2007) compiled a collection of 71 definitions on
intelligence (18 collective definitions, 35 psychologist definitions, and 18 AI researcher
definitions). One of the earliest definition citations by Legg and Hutter (2007:20) is that of Binet
and Simon (1905) that states It seems to us that in intelligence there is a fundamental faculty,
the alteration or the lack of which, is of the utmost importance for practical life. This faculty is
judgement, otherwise called good sense, practical sense, initiative, the faculty of adapting
one’s self to circumstances.” According to Belohlavek (2007:11), intelligence research
identified the use of three layers to support human adaptive behaviour, describes as (1)
Reactive Intelligence, which has direct contact with the environment; (2) Active Intelligence,
which sustains reactive intelligence when there is a need for a planning process; and (3)
Ontointelligence, which sustains active intelligence when the “apprehension” of the essence
of a certain reality is required.
Piaget (1963) in Legg and Hutter (2007:22) states that “intelligence is assimilation to the extent
that it incorporates all the given data of experience within its framework. There can be no
doubt either, that mental life is also accommodation to the environment. Assimilation can never
be pure because by incorporating new elements into its earlier schemata the intelligence
constantly modifies the latter in order to adjust them to new elements.”
For purposes of this study Gottfredson (1997) definition in Legg and Hutter’s (2007:19) is
adopted, i.e. “Intelligence is a very general mental capability that, among other things, involves
the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn
quickly and learn from experience.
5. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
The nature of the research problem (unprecedented digital technological progress bringing
about beneficial transformations, but also profound challenges, likely to bring economic
disruption), the diverse elements thereof (e.g. AI, biotechnology, nanotechnology, 3D-printing,
decision-making automation, robotics, IoT), its interconnectedness and multi-dimensionality
(the way we work, live, communicate, travel and socialise) led to the application of critical
interpretive synthesis (CIS) (Dixon-Woods, Bonas, Booth, Jones, Miller, Sutton, Shaw, Smith
& Young, 2006:38).
The literature on 4IR-related topics and themes is large, diverse, and complex, including both
qualitative and quantitative empirical work; editorial commentaries and theoretical work; case
studies; evaluative, descriptive, sociological, psychological, management, and economics
papers. Subsequently, a conventional systematic review methodology was deemed ill-suited
to the challenges that conducting such a review would pose, and CIS was decided upon.
Dixon-Woods, Kirk, Agarwal, Annandale, Arthur, Harvey, Hsu, Katbamna, Olsen, Smith, Riley
and Sutton (2005:6) posit that CIS starts with an ambiguous and tentatively defined
phenomenon; conducts extensive albeit not complete searching; strategically samples from
the literature; conducts appraisal and critique of the included literature and, through a process
similar to primary qualitative research, aims to produce a theoretical output in the form of a
synthesised argument. Otherwise explained by Bales and Sare (2014:144) as (1) formulating
the review question, (2) searching the literature, (3) sampling, (4) determination of quality, (5)
data extraction, and (6) interpretive synthesis. According to Dixon-Woods et al. (2006:39) CIS
explicitly sanctions the integration of qualitative and quantitative evidence through an
interpretive process.
A distinguishing feature of CIS is its recognition of the authorial voice in that it does not lay
claim to a set of techniques that allows a ‘reproducible’ synthesis. Instead, the interpretive
work required to produce an account of disparate forms of evidence is acknowledged, and it
appreciates that alternative accounts of the same evidence might be possible using different
authorial voices. However, all accounts should be grounded in the evidence, verifiable and
probable, and that reflexivity will be a principal requirement (Dixon-Woods et al., 2006:39).
In terms of formulating the review question in this study, the approach was highly iterative,
modifying the question in response to search results and findings from retrieved literature.
Searching the literature, generated extensive potentially relevant items, proving to be
unmanageable, and subsequently only potentially relevant literature was identified to provide
a sampling frame. For purposes of the synthesis, purposive sampling was initially applied to
select literature that were clearly concerned with aspects of 4IR, partly informed by the scoping
running up to the study. Sampling therefore involved a constant dialectic process conducted
concurrently with concept generation.
As far as determination of quality is concerned, literature that appeared relevant was
prioritised, rather than particular study types or literature that met specific methodological
standards; hence the application of a low threshold was utilised to maximise the inclusion and
contribution of a wide variety of literature at the conceptual level. Data extraction concerned
systematically identifying themes pertinent with leadership within the 4IR context and the very
recent findings of Schwab following the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland
where 4IR was the featuring topic. In conducting the interpretive synthesis, a detailed
inspection of the literature was the point of departure, gradually identifying recurring themes
and developing a critique. Themes were then generated to help develop an argument,
comparing the argument developed against the literature, and attempting to specify the
reasoning and the relationship with the argued proposition.
6. RESULTS
This position paper further expands on the intelligence types of Schwab (2016), i.e.,
contextual-, emotional-, inspired-, and physical intelligence, and Oosthuizen (2016), i.e.,
entrepreneurial intelligence to include strategic-, transdisciplinary-, ecosystem-, socratic- and
ethical intelligence to create a ten-factor intelligence type framework, namely:
1. contextual (the mind) how we understand and apply our knowledge (Schwab, 2016)
2. emotional (the heart) how we process and integrate our thoughts and feelings and
relate to ourselves and to one another (Schwab, 2016)
3. inspired (the soul) how we use a sense of individual and shared purpose, trust, and
other virtues to effect change and act towards the common good (Schwab, 2016)
4. physical (the body) how we cultivate and maintain our personal health and well-being
and that of those around us to be in a position to apply the energy required for both
individual and systems transformation (Schwab, 2016)
5. entrepreneurial (the disposition) how we recognise opportunity through synthesis of
the whole and creative combination of resources (Oosthuizen, 2016)
6. strategic (the orientation) how we adapt to changing environments (Wells, 2012);
gather, examine and disseminate intelligence of strategic value (Djekic, 2014).
7. transdisciplinary (the perspective) how we understand a system in relation to its
larger environment, relationships and connections, bringing the information from
separate disciplines together to create useful knowledge (Montuori, 2013:47).
8. ecosystem (the coalescence) how we grow and develop within the setting of the
system of relationships that form our environment, the impact the environmental
factors have on us, and how we impact one another and our environment (Bloom &
Dees, 2008:47).
9. socratic (the philosophy) how we analyse ideas in terms of their opposites with the
objective of creating a more enlightened synthesis (Chaffee, 2013:62).
10. ethical (the morals) how we differentiate between what is right and what is wrong,
reach decisions and make choices based on this differentiation (Rich, 2013:4).
A conceptual 4IR intelligence framework is subsequently proposed, i.e., Contextual
Intelligence (CI) + Emotional Intelligence (EI) + Inspired Intelligence (II) + Physical Intelligence
(PI) + Entrepreneurial Intelligence (EntI) + Strategic Intelligence (SI) + Transdisciplinary
Intelligence (TI) + Ecosystem Intelligence (EcoI) + Socratic Intelligence (SocI) + Ethical
Intelligence (EthI) = 4IR Intelligence (4IRI). Figure 1 below provides a schematic
representation of the framework.
Figure 1: Fourth Industrial Revolution Intelligence Framework
Source: Author’s own construction
For purposes of operationalisation, each of the intelligence types are discussed below:
6.1 Contextual intelligence (CI)
From a perspective of a contextual sub-theory of intelligence, Sternberg (1985:45) views
intelligence as “mental activity directed toward purposive adaptation to, and selection and
shaping of, real-world environments relevant to one’s life.” The situation in which purposeful
action is taken is thus emphasised, Brown, Gould and Foster (2005:51) posit that contextual
intelligence (CI) has to do with practical know-how that transcends what is formally described
or taught directly, requiring understanding of the context in which one functions; not only
knowing what to do, but also knowing how to get it done.
Similarly, Kutz (2008:23) defines contextual intelligence as “the ability to quickly and intuitively
recognise and diagnose the dynamic contextual variables inherent in an event or circumstance
and results in intentional adjustment of behaviour in order to exert appropriate influence in that
context.” Context has to do with the nature of relations and interdependencies among and
between agents (e.g., people, ideas, values, experiences, cultures, etc.), political alliances,
organisations, religious alignment, social contexts, and private context. Therefore, contextual
intelligence refers to the awareness of these interactions between agents that fundamentally
inform behaviour in a social complex environment (Kutz & Bamford-Wade, 2013:67)
Tarun (2014:60), arguing that insufficient attention has been paid to context in the field of
management, further adds that contextual intelligence is “the ability to understand the limits of
our knowledge and to adapt that knowledge to an environment different from the one in which
it was developed.” Schwab (2016) furthers that “sense of context is defined as the ability and
willingness to anticipate emerging trends and connect the dots. These have been common
characteristics of effective leadership across generations and, in the fourth industrial
revolution, they are a prerequisite for adaptation and survival.”
Consequently, it is imperative that management practitioners understand the value of diverse
networks across traditional boundaries, and develop their capacity and readiness to engage
with all stakeholders related to the matter at hand. To acquire a holistic view of the situation,
management practitioners have to pursue a multi-stakeholder orientation that transcends the
increasingly counterproductive boundaries between sectors and professions. In addition, the
capability to reframe mental and conceptual models and organisational philosophies is
essential. Leaders failing in this will find it challenging to adjust to the disruptions of 4IR
(Schwab, 2016).
6.2 Emotional intelligence (EI)
Goleman (2004:82) argues that one common trait most effective leaders share, is a high
degree of emotional intelligence. In fact, he regards it as the sine qua non of leadership;
without it, even the best training in the world, an incisive, analytical mind, and an endless
supply of smart ideas, still won't make a great leader. Salovey and Mayer (1990:189) define
emotional intelligence as "the subset of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor
one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this
information to guide one’s thinking and actions."
According to Goleman (2004:88) emotional intelligence consists of five components, namely,
(1) Self-Awareness (ability to recognise and understand your moods, emotions, and drives,
as well as their effect on others), (2) Self-Regulation (ability to control or redirect disruptive
impulses and moods; the propensity to suspend judgment - to think before acting), (3)
Motivation (passion to work for reasons that go beyond money or status; a propensity to
pursue goals with energy and persistence), (4) Empathy (ability to understand the emotional
makeup of other people; skill in treating people according to their emotional reactions), and
(5) Social Skill (proficiency in managing relationships and building networks; an ability to find
common ground and build rapport).
With reference to manager and leadership qualities, Lazovic (2012:798) argues that a high
degree of emotional intelligence manifests in developing positive relations and achieving
emotional commitment from employees, which strengthens organisational culture, improves
its resilience and increases its flexibility. Developing a culture of trust grows synergy among
employees which in turn stimulates creativity; essential for developing novel solutions and
shaping innovative responses to the increasingly complex demands of contemporary society
as characterised by 4IR.
At the heart of emotional intelligence is the adaptation of creating conscious and intelligent
actions regarding one’s own emotional responses as well as managing other people’s
reactions to a particular situation. Of importance, however, is the ability to first understand
one’s own emotional state and subsequent recognition of its impact on one’s behaviour
(Lazovic, 2012:799). Scwab (2016) contests that self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation,
empathy and social skills are critical skills to succeed in the era of 4IR. The level of emotional
intelligence and the capacity to cultivate it continuously evidently differentiates the outstanding
decision-makers from the average ones, and organisations rich in leaders with high emotional
intelligence will be more creative and better equipped for agility and resilience in this age of
persistent and acute change, able to cope with disruption.
6.3 Inspired intelligence (II)
Derived from the Latin word ‘spirare’ (to breathe), Schwab (2016) coined the term ‘inspired
intelligence’ which refers to the continuous search for meaning and purpose. Schwab (2016)
furthers that it emphasises nurturing the “creative impulse and lifting humanity to a new
collective and moral consciousness based on a shared sense of destiny.”
Aligned with this view, previous research illuminates articulating a vision as an essential
leadership act (Gupta, Macmillan & Surie, 2004:246; Stopper, 2005:6). Sumner, Bock and
Giamartino (2006:44) emphasise the importance of envisioning the future by imagining
exciting and worthy possibilities. Being forward-looking envisioning exciting possibilities and
enlisting others in a shared view of the future is the attribute that most distinguishes leaders
from non-leaders (Kouzes & Posner, 2009:20). It also influences follower trust because
leaders show followers an attractive vision of the future to persuade them to believe in their
own prospects (Chen, Hwang & Liu, 2009:129). Sumner et al. (2006:44) further posit that
organisations are not successful through the actions of a single person; it requires a team
effort, trust and strong relationships, competence and confidence, collaboration and individual
accountability.
Horwitch and Whipple (2014:2) also accentuates the ability to energise people, foster
engagement and creating trust; inspiring the team and extending it all the way to the front line.
The science of leadership has provided strong support for the notion that inspired intelligence
infuses a vision for the future that speaks to shared concerns of the collective (Molenberghs,
Prochilo, Steffens, Zacher & Haslam, 2015:2). Leaders thus need to portray a collective-
oriented vision for the future by engaging with a higher order collective identity between them
and their followers (Molenberghs et al., 2015:3). Schwab (2016) posits that sharing is key, and
leaders need to shift the focus from the self to a universal sense of common purpose. Unless
a sense of shared purpose is developed collectively, addressing the challenges and reaping
the full benefits of 4IR will not be possible.
6.4 Physical intelligence (PI)
According to Postle (1989) physical Intelligence is concerned with fitness and health,
enjoyment of physical activities, pride in manual skills and dexterity, sensible and balanced
diet, love of the outdoors, and good at household tasks. Schwab (2016) contests that physical
intelligence involves “supporting and nourishing personal health and well-being.” This,
Schwab (2016) argues, is critical due to the accelerated pace of change, increased complexity
and increased number of stakeholders involved in decision-making processes. The need to
keep fit and remain calm under pressure therefore becomes all the more important.
Covey (2004:41) asserts that “scientific laboratory studies are producing increasing evidence
of the close relationship between body (physical), mind (thinking) and heart
(feeling)[emotions].” In a study on the effects of physical activity on cognitive functioning in
middle age, Singh-Manoux, Hillsdon, Brunner, and Marmot (2005:2255) also found that
physical activity has a beneficial impact on cognitive functioning.
Schiller (2013:47) emphasises the importance of physical intelligence, stating that it does,
however, not only refers to a high level of fitness, either muscular strength/endurance or
anaerobic threshold and nutrition. Instead, Schiller (2013:47) argues, the intent of deepening
physical intelligence is to enhance self-mastery, which Majer, Jason, an Olson (2004:59)
describes as “a perception that reflects one’s personal mastery or control over life outcomes.”
This view is supported by scientific research, with epigenetics, a field of study in biology,
shows undeniably the vital importance of sleep, nutrition and exercise in our lives, and
understanding ways of keeping one’s physical body in harmony with one’s mind, one’s
emotions, and the world at-large is imperative (Schwab, 2016).
6.5 Entrepreneurial intelligence (EntI)
Entrepreneurial has to do with how we think, reason and act in relation to value creating
opportunities in our local, national and global environment. Timmons and Spinelli’s (2009:101)
defines entrepreneurship as “a way of thinking, reasoning, and acting that is opportunity
obsessed, holistic in approach, and leadership balanced for the purpose of value creation and
capture.”
Cuervo, Ribeiro and Roig (2007:4) posit that entrepreneurship is a central element for
economic progress as it manifests its fundamental importance in different ways: a) by
identifying, assessing and exploiting business opportunities; b) by creating new companies
and/or renewing existing ones by making them more dynamic; and c) by driving the economy
forward through innovation, competence, job creation and by generally improving the
wellbeing of society. Wiklund, Davidson, Audretsch and Karlson (2011:4) proposes that the
phenomenon of “emergence of new economic activity” lies at the heart of entrepreneurship,
which resonates with Timmons and Spinelli’s (2009:101) view that entrepreneurship results in
the creation, improvement, realisation, and renewal of value for all stakeholders. Key to the
process is the recognition of opportunities (thinking and reasoning), followed by the will and
initiative to seize these opportunities (act).
Entrepreneurial intelligence is thus the ability to recognise opportunity through synthesis of
the whole and creatively combining resources that result in the creation or renewal of value
that makes economic and/or social meaning. The significance to 4IR is that entrepreneurship
transcends the classic start-up notion to include companies and organisations of all types, in
all stages; thus, including organisations that are old and new; small and large; fast and slow
growing; in the private, not-for-profit, and public sectors; in all geographic points; and in all
stages of a nation's development, regardless of politics (Timmons and Spinelli’s, 2009:101).
It is further significant because it supports Douglas’ (2003:62) proposition of a meta-model of
the entrepreneurship phenomenon in that it considers the complexities of the domain of
business enterprise and management as a whole as it ranges from the macro-level socio-
economic-political to the micro-level activities of the owner-manager-entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurial intelligent leaders can inject imagination, motivation, commitment, passion,
tenacity, integrity, teamwork, and vision into 4IR, and despite facing dilemmas, ambiguity and
contradictions, identify opportunities, influence solutions and create value.
6.6 Strategic Intelligence (SI)
Agha, Atwa and Kiwan (2015:65) emphasise the need for organisations to be flexible and act
more intelligently with their environment because of the changing business landscape
characterised by globalisation, computerisation, information technology, and changing
purchasing patterns which make sustained competitive advantages difficult. Agha et al
(2015:65) further highlights the need for strategic intelligence to enhance and maintain their
performance in the current information age, arguing that the gathering of information, and
turning raw data into intelligence through human judgment is a fundamental aspect of
business.
McDowell (2009:17) states that strategic intelligence deals with overall trends that can be
interpreted by evaluating a wide range of variables. It enables decision making that is
specifically relevant to long-term planning, and also provides a means of supporting
organisational objectives by considering perspectives of future challenges that, if regarded,
directly impacts on current planning (McDowell, 2009:26). Wells (2012:3) refers to strategic
intelligence as the ability and capacity to adapt to changing conditions and environments,
instead of continuing blindly down a course when all the signals in the competitive environment
suggest otherwise (Wells, 2012: 3).
According to Maccoby (2001) five interrelated competencies make up strategic intelligence,
namely, foresight, systems thinking, visioning, motivating and partnering. Foresight is the
ability to think in terms of trends that are not obvious and can’t be measured but are shaping
the future. Systems thinking has to do with the ability to synthesise elements of a system for
the purpose of analysis. Visioning implies using foresight and systems thinking to shape a
preferred future. Motivating is the ability to get people to embrace a common goal and to
execute a vision. Lastly, partnering is the ability to form strategic alliances. Liebowitz (2006)
further considers strategic intelligence as the conjunction and interaction of knowledge
management, business intelligence and competitive intelligence.
Leaders with strategic intelligence understand the context in which they are leading (Maccoby
& Scudder, 2011:33) and move their followers to become willing collaborators to the common
good (Maccoby & Scudder, 2011:39). It is a methodical and ongoing process of gathering,
examining and disseminating intelligence of strategic value in an actionable way to assist in
long-term decision-making (Djekic, 2014).
6.7 Transdisciplinary Intelligence (TI)
According to Montuori (2013:46) inquiry has traditionally approached all phenomena from the
perspective of a single discipline, e.g. psychologists, might study the psychology of creativity,
or leadership, and sociologists might study the sociology of work or gender. Albeit that
disciplinary approaches have historically produced some excellent research Montuori
(2013:46) argues, they are also limited and limiting. Not that such research is not interesting
or important per se, but it provides only a partial view, and this view is often despite limitation
warnings taken to be the whole. Using that partial view as a lens through which to view the
entire phenomenon becomes problematic, particularly for practitioners. Unlike academic
disciplines, life (and 4IR for that matter) does not break down into neat categories and
disciplines, and we ignore them at our own risk.
The deep cause of error is not error of fact (false perception), or error of logic (incoherence),
but rather the way we organise our knowledge into a system of ideas (theories, ideologies)
(Morin, 2008:2). Referring to the “pathology of knowing” and “blind intelligence” Morin (2008:3)
accentuates the domination of principles of disjunction, reduction, and abstraction, which,
together, he calls the “paradigm of simplification.”
Transdisciplinarity is inquiry-driven rather than discipline-driven. In transdisciplinarity, scope
is defined by the needs of the subject matter, not determined and guided by the boundaries
of the discipline (Montuori, 2013:46). Nicolescu (2010:20) argues that transdisciplinarity
concerns that which is at once between the disciplines, across the different disciplines, and
beyond all disciplines. Its goal is the understanding of the present world, of which one of the
essentials is the unity of knowledge. Nicolescu (2010:22) furthers that the methodology of
transdisciplinarity is founded on three axioms: (1) The ontological axiom: There are, in Nature
and in our knowledge of Nature, different levels of Reality of the Object and different levels of
Reality of the Subject. (2) The logical axiom: The passage from one level of Reality to another
is insured by the logic of the included middle. (3) The complexity axiom: The structure of the
totality of levels of Reality is a complex structure: every level is what it is because all the levels
exist at the same time.”
Citing Flyvbjerg (2001), Montuori (2013:47) furthers thattransdisciplinarity draws on systems
and complexity theories to propose a way of thinking that is different from reductive/disjunctive
disciplinary thought. It requires thinking that contextualises, starting with the assumption that
any system needs to be understood in terms of its larger environment and relationships, and
connections, showing how to bring the information from separate disciplines together so that
it can be useful knowledge that allows us to act wisely.” Montuori (2015:196) states that our
contemporary networked society, driven by the power of new technology, enables access to
more information than ever before. The challenge, however, is how to organise that
information, turn it into knowledge, and utilise that knowledge wisely, affirming that
transdisciplinarity and complexity are ideas whose time has come.
6.8 Ecosystem Intelligence (EcoI)
Biologists discovered the limits of studying living organisms in isolation, and that they gained
a much deeper understanding by considering the complicated relationships between
organisms and their environments. They look not only at the impact that environmental factors
such as soil and water have on organisms, but also at the impact that these organisms have
on one another and their environment (Bloom & Dees, 2008:47). Drawing on the insights from
ecology and using an ecosystems framework could enhance leaders’ understanding of the
process and phenomena playing out in 4IR.
Bloom and Dees (2008:47) argue that human societies are just as complex as ecosystems,
with many different types of players and environmental conditions. According to Morin
(2008:11) two main causes flow from the idea of an open system, namely (1) the laws of
organisation of the living are not laws of equilibrium, but rather of disequilibrium, recovered or
compensated, stabilised dynamics; and (2) that the intelligibility of the system has to be found,
not only in the system itself, but also in its relationship with the environment, and that this
relationship is not a simple dependence - it forms part of the system. Morin (2008:11) furthers
that reality is therefore as much in the relationship as in the distinction between the open
system and its environment a relationship absolutely crucial epistemologically,
methodologically, theoretically, and empirically.
Bateson (1987) conceptualised metaphorical bridges between that which happens in the
ecological world and that which happens in human lives which Gilstrap (2011:37) refers to as
human ecology; that which seeks to describe populations of societal coalescence around
different sociological constructs. The term “ecosystem intelligence”, therefore, brings these
constructs together.
Johnson (2008:2) states that Bronfenbrenner (1989) developed his ecological systems theory
in an attempt to define and understand human development within the context of the system
of relationships that form the person’s environment. According to Bronfenbrenner’s initial
theory (1989), the environment is comprised of four layers of systems which interact in
complex ways and can both affect and be affected by the person’s development, namely the
microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem, and macrosystem. He later added a fifth dimension
that comprises an element of time, namely chronosystem (Bronfenbrenner, 1995).
6.9 Socratic Intelligence (SocI)
In terms of Socrates’ dialectic method of systematic inquiry (which continues to be the bedrock
of philosophical thought) Chaffee (2013:8) describes it as continually analysing ideas in terms
of their opposites with the ultimate goal of creating a more enlightened synthesis. Socrates
would begin with a general definition of an important concept, and then use his dialectical
method to seek an understanding of the essential nature of the central concept (Chaffee,
2013:62). Chaffee (2013:91) furthers that, using penetrating questions, Socrates’ method
insisted on the criteria of logical soundness, clear definitions, consistency, and freedom from
self-contradiction.
According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
(2007:34) Socrates regarded himself as intermediary, “helping students to develop their own
ideas by carefully guiding the group’s discussion through questions and interjections and by
rephrasing different concepts, so as to develop a progressive and logical train of critical
thought.” Socrates’ philosophy was rooted in concrete problems trying to find answers to
seemingly simple questions. Dialogue about questions helped both Socrates and his dialogue
partners to achieve ‘practical wisdom’; such wisdom, and not the construction of a
philosophical system being the aim of Socratic Dialogue (Wortel & Verweij, 2008:54).
Socrates insisted on (1) establishing clear starting points; (2) viewing issues from multiple
perspectives; (3) exploring logical connections and the consequences of beliefs; (4)
expressing publicly one’s own thinking process and inviting others to respond; (5) being willing
to follow the argument wherever it might lead; and (6) being open to revising one’s opinions
based on new insight (Chaffee, 2013:91).
The applicability to leadership in 4IR finds expression in the UNESCO (2007:164) view that
Socratic dialogue is a philosophical practice for everyone, in which a small group of people
led by a rigorous facilitator (leader) engage in dialogue over many hours in order to get to the
bottom of some fundamental question of general interest and find an answer. The term
“socratic intelligence” thus refers to this ability.
6.10 Ethical Intelligence (EthI)
As a philosophical discipline of study, Rich (2013:4) defines ethics as “a systematic approach
to understanding, analysing, and distinguishing matters of right and wrong, good and bad, and
admirable and deplorable as they relate to the wellbeing of and the relationships among
sentient beings.” Ethics and leadership are organisational imperatives (Coyne, Bell &
Merrington, 2013:27), and technological and scientific advances, socio-economic realities,
diverse worldviews, and global communication (characteristic of 4IR) demands a leader to
consider the ethical issues in the world community, their everyday lives, and the organisations
they lead (Rich, 2013:3). Weinstein (2011:6) base ethical inteligence on five simple principles,
i.e., (1) do no harm, (2) make things better, (3) respect others, (4) be fair, and (5) be loving;
however, although we know these principles, they are difficult to live by.
Belohlavek (2007:15) defines ethical intelligence as “the intelligence that structures stable and
dynamic rules that determine the action of the individual in his environment. It determines his
capacity to add value, his influence on the environment and on others and his time
management.” Ocreus (2016), in organisational terms, defines ethical intelligence as “the
ability to recognise and respond appropriately and effectively to ethically challenging
situations.” Their definition thus recognises what matters in a commercial organisation, i.e.,
the ability to recognise ethical matters, to make appropriate ethical decisions based on a
robust set of facts, to communicate those decisions as ethical decisions and explain the
underlying reasoning, and to persuade others and the organisation as a whole to accept and
adopt those decisions.
According to Seider, Davies and Gardner (2009:214), individuals who demonstrate ethical
intelligence recognise their role as members of a local, national and international community
and consider the effects of their actions on these various communities. Belohlavek (2007:16)
further argues that the higher the level of ethical intelligence, the higher the level of
consciousness an individual needs to have. Therefore, the development of a leader’s ethical
intelligence implies the increase of maturity which is based on higher levels of consciousness.
7. CONCLUSIONS
The 4IR megatrends which are shaping society promises not only beneficial transformations,
but also profound challenges, likely to bring economic disruption. Subsequently, the
organisational and management practice implications are profound, and leaders will need to
redefine their management orientation to ensure organisational longevity.
Building on Scwab’s pioneering work, it is subsequently proposed that the challenges of 4IR
can only be meaningfully addressed if the collective wisdom of people’s minds, hearts and
souls are mobilised by nurturing and applying contextual-, emotional-, inspired-, physical-,
entrepreneurial-, strategic-, transdisciplinary-, ecosystem-, socratic- and ethical intelligence.
Leaders need to develop their capacity and readiness to engage with all stakeholders in the
context of their respective organisations. They have to acquire an integrated holistic view, by
pursuing a multi-stakeholder orientation that transcends the increasingly counterproductive
boundaries between sectors and professions.
In order to be creative and better equipped for agility and resilience in this age of persistent
and acute change, able to manage the disruptions and resources in restricted times, leaders
require high levels of emotional intelligence and the capacity to cultivate it. Leaders therefore
need to shift the focus from the self to a universal sense of common purpose in order to
address the challenges and securing the benefits of 4IR. In addition, leaders need to embrace
the importance of sleep, nutrition and exercise, and understand ways of keeping their physical
bodies in harmony with their mind, emotions, and the world at-large.
How leaders think, reason and act in relation to value creating opportunities in the local,
national and global environment could extensively influence the probability of organisational
longevity. In terms of 4IR, a leaders’ habitual inclination should be the recognition of
opportunities and subsequent actions to create value.
Leaders need to understand the context in which they are leading, and sharpen their ability
and capacity to adapt to the changing conditions and environments inherent to 4IR. The need
for developing their competencies of foresight, systems thinking, visioning, motivating and
partnering is thus essential as they influence their followers to become willing collaborators to
the organisational objectives. Any system needs to be understood in terms of its larger
environment and relationships, and connections. As such leaders’ thinking need to
contextualise, drawing information from separate disciplines together so that it can be useful
knowledge that allows them to act wisely. It is thus imperative for a leader in 4IR to
appropriately organise information, turn it into knowledge, and utilise that knowledge wisely.
Because human societies are just as complex as ecosystems, with many different types of
players and environmental conditions, necessitates that a leader in 4IR considers not only the
system itself, but also its relationship with the environment, understanding that this relationship
is not a simple dependence, but forms part of the system. 4IR plays out as much in the
relationship, as in the distinction between the open system and its environment. In getting to
the bottom of some of 4IRs fundamental questions, leaders should hone the skill to facilitate
regular dialogue with followers that elicits practical wisdom in finding answers of importance
to the organisations sustainability.
Finally, leaders need to recognise their role as members of a local, national and international
community and consider the effects of their actions on these various communities. They must
have a deep sense of understanding in analysing and distinguishing matters of right and
wrong, good and bad, and admirable and deplorable as it relates not only to their own thinking,
reasoning and acting, but also that of their followers in the execution of the organisation’s
mission.
This position paper set out to investigate leadership through the lens of 4IR and to propose a
4IR-Intelligence framework for leadership developmental purposes. In this endeavour, greater
awareness of 4IR and leadership implications amongst scholars and practitioners have also
been created, setting an important benchmark from where further research can be undertaken.
8. RECOMMENDATIONS
Reflecting on the technology shifts fundamentally altering society it is evident that these
components of 4IR have created an inflection point that are also redefining leadership. The
volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity spawned by these 4IR shifts demand leaders
to reinvent themselves, and the 10-type intelligence framework could serve as the ideal path
for reinventing oneself and realigning oneself to meaningfully address the challenges and
exploiting the benefits. Subsequently, the following practical recommendations proposed:
At the individual level leaders should assess themselves in relation to the 4IR-Intelligence
framework so as to determine their readiness and identify shortcomings.
At the team and organisational level leaders should initiate developmental initiatives in
relation to the 4IR-Intelligence framework so as to empower employees and followers to
meaningfully contribute to addressing the challenges and exploiting the opportunities.
At the organisational level leaders should give 4IR prominence in their organisations’
strategic dialogue.
Reflection on, and development of the 10-type intelligence constructs individually and
collectively could create a firm foundation from where to influence an unconstrained future
with many possible beneficial outcomes.
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... Scholars have built enormous informationon OP literature [27][28][29].Owing to the 4IR's influence on the responsibility of businesses in driving significant transformations and on humanity, [30] considered Leadership as important to the irregularity of possible harm versus profits to working society and organizations. [18] indicated the importance of Leadership in guaranteeing work organizations' performance capabilities and existence. ...
... This research indicated that perceived according to a previous pragmatic indication that Leadership is fundamental to guaranteeing businesses' survival and organizational performance abilities [18]. It likewise corroborates [30]'s view that Leadership is critical to the irregularity of possible harm versus profits to working society and organizations. Moreover, this paper confirms the position of [16] that, with the ambiguity and confusion, triggered by the 4IR, leaders, organizations, and managers, could adapt, invent, and cooperate in the future. ...
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Chapter
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Purpose Globally, the business organisations are experiencing a transformation due to the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). The need for an effective 4IR leadership has placed new demands on organisations to develop and select leaders to effectively lead the organisations in the 4IR era. Hence, it becomes important to understand the attributes for an effective 4IR leadership. This study examines the relationships between leadership styles, leadership traits, leadership intelligence and effective 4IR leadership to empirically validate the effective 4IR leadership framework that was conceptualised. The hypothesised relationships from the framework were tested using a survey of 416 senior construction executives across the nine provinces of South Africa. Design/methodology/approach To achieve the study objectives, an online survey was sent to construction firms across the nine provinces of South Africa. “Construction”, for the purpose of this study comprised building and civil engineering firms listed on the construction industry development board (cidb) register of contractors in South Africa. The target group was the upper echelon executives, i.e. Chairman, CEOs, managing directors and chief operating officers, and the survey was directed to contact e-mail of the study samples. The professional service providers (architects, consultants and surveyors) were not part of the survey sample. The database of the organisational leaders was obtained from the cidb. The online survey was created on the 23rd of August 2019 and closed on the 23rd of April 2020, thereby making the duration of the survey eight months. The total number of respondents at the time of closure of the survey was four hundred and sixteen (416). Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used for the analysis of the results. Findings This study validates the effective 4IR leadership framework as proposed by Alade and Windapo (2019) by empirically examining relationships between leadership styles, leadership traits, leadership intelligence and effective 4IR leadership. The findings from this study have shown that effective 4IR leadership is positively associated with leadership styles, leadership traits and leadership intelligence. Hence, an effective 4IR leader must spread the knowledge and understanding of the 4IR opportunities and threats in the organisations. The leader must ensure that the executives in the construction organisation become change conversant and ensure that the employees acquire 4IR skills. Multiple leadership intelligence is essential to effective 4IR leadership. These multiple intelligence are the ability to adapt knowledge and skills to different situations, ability to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously, a high level of understanding, ability to process and analyse information and ability to utilise knowledge from many disciplinary boundaries. Research limitations/implications This study is focused on construction business organisations in South Africa. As such, similar studies on 4IR leadership effectiveness can be carried out in other countries and across other organisations. Future studies should also consider using a case study approach specifically focused on organisations with high implementations of 4IR technologies. Interacting with the leaders of such organisations and their employees will give a broader perspective in understanding the reasons of their effectiveness. Practical implications The leadership of construction organisations must partner with the academia, industry players and team members in their efforts to implement 4IR in their organisations. Also, the existence of a positive association between leadership traits and effective 4IR leadership implies that to ensure a 4IR-driven work process in construction organisations, the leadership must embrace disruption and quickly respond to change. Further, it can be concluded from the findings of this study that appropriate leadership styles are required for effective 4IR leadership. The appropriate leadership style for effective 4IR leadership requires the leadership of construction organisations to delegate some of the 4IR function. The 4IR function must be performed based on the challenges that are associated with 4IR. The positive correlation between leadership intelligence and leadership styles makes it possible to conclude that the competencies of leadership of construction organisations in a 4IR-driven change depend on the level of leadership intelligence of the executives of construction organisations. It is evident that 4IR will change the business environment; hence, leadership intelligence is required to adapt construction organisations to the change dynamics. This study has provided information on what 4IR leadership entails in construction organisations. The study has contributed a framework for ensuring effective and smooth flow 4IR implementation in construction organisations through a purposeful leadership that combines leadership styles, leadership traits and leadership intelligence. Social implications This research will be useful to government agencies and board members of construction organisations, in appointing leaders to see the construction industry and organisations perform better in the 4IR era. Young individuals who are also aspiring to take on leadership role in the industry will benefit from this study. Originality/value This study is a new and original research that seeks to investigate the need for an effective 4IR leadership in construction business organisations. Construction as an industry is usually criticised for her slow response to change. Since leadership is required to drive the change agenda, this study examines the relationships between leadership styles, leadership traits, leadership intelligence and effective 4IR leadership to empirically validate the effective 4IR leadership framework that was conceptualised.
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