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The Digital Revolution and the Organization of Work: Contemporary Management Techniques

Advances in Applied Sociology, 2018, 8, 212-232
ISSN Online: 2165-4336
ISSN Print: 2165-4328
10.4236/aasoci.2018.83013 March 15, 2018 212 Advances in Applied Sociology
The Digital Revolution and the Organization of
Work: Contemporary Management Techniques
Michael J. Kendzia, Albena Björck
ZHAW SML, Winterthur, Switzerland
Viewed from a global perspective, the digital revolution affects organizations
as well as individuals.
For present purposes, the digital revolution refers to the
transformation process of analog data into a digital format. The key driver
behind this process seems to be the technological progress in particular within
the information and telecommunication ind
ustry. To ensure both productive
and attractive jobs during times of rapid change, an efficient allocation of
work gains in importance. Nonetheless, owing to the strong trend towards d
gitalization, a window of opportunity for flexible solutions at company
opens. Before this backdrop, the paper addresses in particular the area of
knowledge- and project-
based work within the service sector. By doing so, the
paper attempts to set out where the technological forces and trends are lea
ing the organization
of work and what the contemporary management can do
to better adapt to this development. To do so, an interdisciplinary research
approach is followed, including aspects from labor economics, occupational
psychology and business administration. Finally, th
e investigation identifies
concrete management techniques to provide proper tools to meet the d
mands of modern workplaces.
Digitalization, Technological Progress, Autonomy, Intrinsic Motivation
1. Introduction
Owing to the need of companies for innovations in a rapidly changing business
environment, companies face tremendous challenges regarding the optimal
adaptation to the so-called digitization of everything. For present purposes,
the digital revolution refers to the transformation process of analog data into a
digital format. The key driver behind this process seems to be the technological
How to cite this paper:
Kendzia, M.J., &
, A. (2018).
The Digital Revolution
and the Organization of Work: Contemp
rary Management Techniques
Advances in
Applied Sociology
, 8,
January 13, 2018
March 12, 2018
March 15, 2018
Copyright © 201
8 by authors and
Research Publishing Inc.
This work is licensed under the Creative
Commons Attribution
License (CC BY
Open Access
M. J. Kendzia, A. Björck
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progress in particular within the information and telecommunication industry.
Main contributions to this topic were made by Brynjolfsson and McAfee
(2014), pointing out that technologies would race further ahead, whereas not
only the individuals skills but also larger organizations would lag behind in de-
velopment (Brynjolfsson & McAfee, 2014, 2011). At the same time, it is evident
that both authors refer to the book The New Division of Laborby Levy and
Murnane (2004), describing how computers might create the next job market.
More specifically, the authors attempted to exhibit tasks that were better per-
formed through humans than by computers. Likewise, the same authors shed
light on tasks that were carried out better by computers than by humans. Ac-
cording to them, computerized work has enhanced the role of critical thinking
by, for instance, identifying and solving uncharted problems (Levy & Murnane,
However, the idea addressed in this article is far from being a new phenome-
non: in 1960, Herbert Simon wrote an essay on The corporation: Will it Be
Managed by Machines?” The later Nobel Prize winner pointed out that compu-
terized work would not immediately trigger mass unemployment. In contrast,
computerized work would lead to shifts in the economy’s mix of jobs. According
to his assessment, more people than ever would work in a personal service sec-
tor, involving face-to-face human interaction (Simon, 1960).
Nevertheless, a closer link between both aspects, dealing with applied ap-
proaches as to how to cope best with the changing requirements of management
techniques resulting from the digitalization process, is relatively rarely covered.
Against this backdrop, this article seeks to analyze the addressed link by exhibit-
ing data on this issues and attempts to recommend both concrete and contem-
porary management methods. Yet, as the concrete impact of the development of
information and communication technology on workplaces and individuals will
be part of continuous scientific investigations, the scope of this article is still li-
Figure 1 reveals information about the internet use across Member States of
the European Union. Persons aged 16 - 74 using the internet at least once a week
are classified as regular users, whereas persons not meeting the aforementioned
criterion belong either to the group of occasional users or, in case of not using
the internet at all, are classified as group never. According to the data, among
the top five member states are the Netherlands, Sweden, Luxembourg, Denmark,
and Finland, while the Members States with the lowest rates of internet use en-
compass Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, and Portugal.
By analyzing the use and range of activities more in-depth, Blank and Groselj
(2014) find that those participating in most internet activities can be described as
young, well-educated, and employed (Blank & Groselj, 2014). However, Bryn-
jolfsson and McAfee (2014) voice the concern that common workers will not be
in a position to adapt to the increasing speed of the technological change (Bryn-
jolfsson & McAfee, 2014).
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Figure 1. Internet usage across the EU in 2012. Source: European Commission (2013).
Note: Persons aged 16 - 74 using the internet at least once a week or never; the rest is
classified as occasional users; horizontal lines represent targets of the European Commis-
Nonetheless, the same authors further elaborate that workplaces need time to
adjust to technological changes andafter a certain whileas a result, stronger
growth occurs (Frey & Osborne, 2015). With this said, and in contrast to earlier
times, when a farmer had to stop working on the field, due to natural borders,
today, in the course of electrification and permanent connectivity, an employee
does not face any kind of timely restrictions. Against this background, the au-
thors attempt to set out that management skills become more and more impor-
tant to assess both one’s own productivity and the need for rest phases.
However, fears and causes of concerns regarding the future are nothing new.
Malthus (1798) already proclaimed that the population would grow much
stronger than the agricultural supply. Consequently, this fact would lead to fa-
mine amongst the entire mankind. Others, such as Rifkin (1995) announced the
end of work, whilst recently Piketty (2014) foresaw growing wealth inequalities
due to capitalistic regimes.
Here, a rather positive approach is followed setting out as to how to cope with
the technological change. To ensure both productive and attractive jobs during
times of rapid change, an efficient allocation of work gains in importance. Nev-
ertheless, due to the substantial trend towards digitization, a window of oppor-
tunity for flexible solutions regarding the organization of work opens.
Thereby, an interdisciplinary research approach is followed, including aspects
from labor economics, psychology and business administration. Moreover, this
paper seeks to reveal proper management skills to cope with the increasing de-
mands through the digitization at the individual level. At the same time, the ar-
ticle aims at explaining how organizations may create and manage today’s
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workplaces to adapt to these changes successfully.
To do so, first of all, the latest assumptions and models in this area are shown
within the theoretical framework. Thereafter, empirical results from various in-
ternational as well as European institutions are displayed, as this paper focuses
mainly on the Member States of the European Union. However, during the em-
pirical part, latest management approaches from the US need to be taken into
By doing so, the so-called open method of coordination (OMC) is applied.
Subsequently, this paper sheds light on the self- and management techniques of
those Member States performing best. Finally, contemporary features of organi-
zations meeting the raising demands in the workplace are presented.
2. Theoretical Evidence
By investigating the shift of risks and responsibilities from the employer to the
employee, Pinchot (1985) developed the expression of the
. Accord-
ing to him, employees should not leave the company to become self-employed. Ra-
ther, he recommends a mixture of intracorporate activities and entrepreneur-
shipthe so-called entrepreneur on the job, or intrapreneur. This would allow
organizations to adapt quickly to changing demands.
Research has intensely been dealing with the concept of perceived autonomy
or rather control at work. Autonomy in this respect is defined as the individuals’
amount of direct or indirect influence concerning its environment. Here, in par-
ticular the individuals’ creation of a less threatening and at the same time more
rewarding environment is taking into account (Sparks et al., 2001).
The adverse effect on the individuals’ health and well-being in terms of lack-
ing autonomy has been shown in various investigations (Averill, 1973; Miller,
1979; Ganster & Fusilier, 1989; Evans & Carrére, 1991). While autonomy in car-
rying out a task, might serve as a stress buffer, as noted by Terry and Jimmieson
(1999). Luchman and Gonzalez-Morales (2013) illustrate the process of mental
exhaustion as follows: Firstly, increasing job demands result in a perceived lack
or potential loss of personal resources. Secondly, this perception, in turn, leads
to psychological and physiological arousal, triggering the activation of the
so-called sympathetic nervous system. Lastly, in the course of time, the psycho-
logical and physiological activation reduces the mental and emotional resources
of the individual. Consequently, a loss of energy or health impairment might
Therefore, to decide as to how a specific task or job shall be fulfilled, including
the freedom to determine start and finish times, reflects a fundamental human
need. Thereby, work or the workplace itself becomes rewarding and thus moti-
vational. In contrast to being directed to do a certain activity, as Hackman and
Oldham (1975) reveal, individuals who perceive themselves as deciding what
exactly to do, take more self-responsibility and show higher degrees of intrinsic
motivation (Sparks et al., 2001).
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Later research on this topic has shown that, both autonomy and intrinsic mo-
tivation within work tasks lead to a high degree of satisfaction particularly in
non-routine work such as project work. This assumption is represented by the
self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 2000, 1985). Likewise, Kalleberg and
Vaisey (2005) summarize that autonomy contributes to a large extent to the
workers’ assessment in view of their job to be of high quality (Gallie & Zhou,
Autonomy can be associated with the phenomenon of a considerable degree
of decision latitude (Karasek, 1979). In this context, Stansfeld and Candy (2006)
concluded within their meta-analytic study that job strain resulting from both
high psychological demands along with low decision latitude entails a high risk
for mental ill health. The same holds for high effort at work and low reward—the
so-called effort-reward imbalance (Stansfeld & Candy, 2006).
According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), autonomy can be
interpreted as the manifestation of the individual’s right to freedom and dignity
in the workplace. More concretely, Deci and Ryan (2007) understand autonomy
as to endorse one’s actions to the highest level of reflection. Thereafter, indi-
viduals perceive themselves as acting autonomously when they are free to choose
to do those things which are meaningful and interesting to them. Furthermore,
autonomy is attributed to one of the basic psychological needs and must be met
to act optimally as a human being. Plus, in particular job autonomy appears to
be closely related to self-efficacy, flexibility, and organizational commitment. In
this article, autonomy refers to how work is structured, organized, designed, and
managed (Gagné & Bhave, 2011).
Nevertheless, and far more specifically, the authors concentrate on the organ-
ization of the workplace and management techniques. Autonomy seems to be
very closely related to higher forms of work motivation, productivity as well as
personal well-being (Gagné & Deci, 2005). Additionally, it has a long-term im-
pact on intrinsic work motivation, as shown by Wall et al. (1986).
Another phenomenon contributing to the increased perception of autonomy
constitutes the participative management style. Here, this is understood as the
allowance to participate in as employee in the decision-making process. Hack-
man (1986) defines participative management as the 1) the authority to execute
their work how they like to do it and 2) manage and monitor their own work.
Moreover 3), according to his approach, people are allowed to design and dis-
tribute their work and finally 4) set their own goals for their unit or organization
(Gagné & Bhave, 2011).
3. Empirical Evidence
To explain the underlying method used to analyze the respective outcomes of
the various Member States of the European Union, the authors use the afore-
mentioned OMC. This approach constitutes a new governance architecture and
allows Member States and European institutions to compare their performance
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in areas which are, from a labor market perspective, rather touchy and therefore
controversially discussed.
This can be shown by Figure 2, indicating the various responsibilities of labor
market issues throughout the entire Union. Whereas human rights issues and
questions related to corporate social responsibility can only be negotiated at
global level, the European Union has a rather limited impact on labor market
issues, including questions regarding training, mobility, or amongst others,
health & safety. That is, the core elements of each employment contract today
are still negotiated at national and local level, containing dismissal protection
andthe heart and soul of each contractsuch as wages and working time is-
3.1. The Open Method of Coordination
As the European Union cannot directly influence any of the central characteris-
tics of employment contracts, the Union and its related institutions can only
vaguely address certain issues related to the labor market by using the OMC. In
general, the OMC is applied where the Treaty base for EU action is weak. It in-
cludes guidelines rather than hard-law directives at EU level and assesses per-
formance against objectives. Based on benchmarking, it leads to the exchange of
good or even best practices.
The European Social Survey investigated the extent of one’s own job control.
Here, people were asked “how much the management at your work allows you
Figure 2. Labor market responsibilities within the European Union. Source: Eichhorst et
al. (2011).
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1) to decide how your own daily work is organized; 2) to influence policy deci-
sions about the activities of the organization; and 3) to choose or change your
pace of work.” The questioned people could respond on a ten-point scale, rang-
ing from 0 (no influence at all) to 10 (complete control over my work task) (Gal-
lie & Zhou 2013). As illustrated by Figure 3, the Scandinavian countries, here
including Norway, achieved the best results in this respect. As the Netherlands
are associated with the Scandinavian countries in this article, even the Nether-
lands show high level of work control by the individual, according to the latest
figures from 2010.
Having said this, the present article applies to this approach and refers to data
stemming mainly from sources of the European Commission, Eurostat, and the
OECD. As data from Eurostat indicates, many jobs in Scandinavian countries,
such as Denmark, Finland and Sweden as well as in the Netherlands, appear to
meet the demanding requirements of today’s workplaces.
When looking at today’s challenges at the workplace and in accordance with
data provided by the OECD (2014), it appears that Scandinavian countries do
not only show low job strains, as Figure 4 reveals, but also tend to exhibit in
general higher levels of factor self-responsibility.
Based on data from the European Commission (2014), the latter relationship
between self-responsibility and less strict deadlines is shown in Figure 5. These
results are affirmed by similar investigations, pointing to lower degrees of con-
trol through a supervisor in Scandinavian countries.
Figure 3. The individuals control over the work task. Source: Gallie & Zhou, 2013: p. 117.
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Figure 4. Summary index on job strain. Source: OECD 2014 cited from Eichhorst, W.
Figure 5. Tough deadlines and self-responsibility. Source: European Commission (2014)
based on Eurofound cited from Eichhorst, W. (2015). Note: high stress marked in red,
low stress in green.
According to data from the European Commission (2014) and as displayed in
Figure 6, the group of the above mentioned countries exhibits also the highest
participation rates in terms of lifelong learning in a European comparison. Thus,
these countries seem to be exemplary for the organization of work based on em-
pirical insights. Thereafter, other countries appear to have a certain potential in
modernizing the organization of work to meet future demands.
These empirical findings are particularly relevant for knowledge- and project-
based work. To cope with the challenging competitive environment in this area
of work, both the educational attainment and lifelong learning become increa-
singly important. As management tasks are today much more complex
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Figure 6. Participation in lifelong learning at different skill levels. Source: European
Commission 2014, based on ELFS cited from Eichhorst, W. (2015).
compared to the scenario in the last century, psychological issues in terms of
stress, potential exhaustion and mental health have to be taken into account.
However, the demand for managerial expertise has grown and so has the
complexity of management techniques facing the implications of the broad digi-
tization process. Generally, management techniques can be defined as appro-
priate methods of managing, which contribute to developing a productive job.
Here, the analysis concentrates on personnel management.
3.2. The Scandinavian Management Model
Further investigations in view of the Scandinavian Management Model conclude
that this model can be characterized by relatively strong degree of cooperation
and consensus, a participative leadership style (decisions are made via demo-
cratic processes), a strong tendency towards harmony and thus an attitude of
conflict avoidance. Also, it is worth noting that formal authority is rejected and
enormous emphasis is put on the interpersonal orientation (empathy) (Gren-
ness, 2011, 2003; Zemke, 1988).
The same authors compile a SWOT-analysis (Grenness, 2011, 2003; Zemke,
1988), based on interviews with Scandinavian managers, categorizing the indi-
vidual’s citation as shown in Figure 7.
As a much larger share of the population attends college and work in
idea-generating industries than was the case 50 years ago (Frey & Osborne,
2015), more flexible solutions as regards the organization of workplaces seem to
gain importance.
Against this backdrop, the participative leadership style of Scandinavian
countries might serve as a role model for future forms of management, facing
the increasing demands of the digitalization process.
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Figure 7. SWOT-analysis of the Scandinavian Management
Model. Source: Own representation based on Grenness, 2011,
2003; Zemke, 1988.
3.3. The Changing Face of the Workplace, Workforce and
The digitalization is changing where, why and how we work. Not only business
processes are transformed but also next generations grown up with the new
technology enter workplaces. They increasingly challenge the existing work or-
ganization and values. Elements and values of the Scandinavian Management
model, as described in the previous chapter, reflect emerging patterns of the
sharing and digital economy and will to a certain extent shape the workplace
innovations and management styles. As proper illustration serves Hoffice, a co-
working movement founded 2014 in Sweden and already spreading internation-
ally. Freelancers, entrepreneurs, office employees who can work remotely and
even people looking for a job meet for work at someone’s apartment.
According to the founder of the movement, Swedish psychologist Christopher
Franzen, working in houses and apartments is surrounded by a strong collabora-
tion atmosphere and desire to contribute. High autonomy is combined with ex-
change of ideas and collaboration in relaxed and personal environment. The day
starts with the communication of the personal daily goals in order to accomplish
more pressure (Peters, 2015). In general, tasks are completed in 45 minutes’
slots. The idea builds on empirical studies confirming that people achieve more
while working in structured short periods of time During breaks the
do yoga, qi gong or simply meditate, network and exchange ideas over
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lunch. At the end of the day, talk goals achievement is discussed (Mok, 2016).
Hence, and according to the Hoffice positioning, the movement is creating a
productive social working environment as well as a feeling of happiness, inspira-
tion and calm (Mok, 2016).
The success is based on Swedish workplace values like low-level hierarchy and
the acceptance for remote work (Savage, 2017). Another driver in the beginning
was the shortage of working space in Stockholm and the opportunity of apart-
ment owners to rent out during working hours. The organization and commu-
nication reminds of other sharing platforms like Airbnb but with lower formali-
zation. The quick spreading of the movement globally and the establishment of
other co-working platforms indicates the rapid transformation of the working
place as well as the importance of flexibility for more creativity, productivity and
happiness. According to the BBC, Hoffice has almost 1600 members in Sweden
and a similar UK based platform Spacehop reports signing up 300 hosts with
over 2500 hoppers (Savage, 2017). The launch in India shows that such a move-
ment is influenced by cultural differences, starting from the different perception
of privacy and trust letting somebody unknown in your apartment to the flex-
ibility and ease of collective self-organizing. This new phenomenon and how the
rise of the shared economy influences the working place, the leadership skills
and everyone’s productivity and well-being are still not well researched.
As millennials and generation Z enter the workforce, their behavioral charac-
teristics change work attitudes. Both generations share values such mobility, live
for the present, rapid reaction and freedom of information (Bencsik et al., 2016).
They have a strong desire for independence and intuitive use of information
technology, feel at home everywhere and prefer home office and part time
(Bencsik et al., 2016). In short, these characteristics are already shaping the con-
temporary workplace inducing more flexibility, autonomy, collaboration to so-
cial purpose, technology integration and work-life integration (Lipman, 2016).
3.4. Flexibility
With the rise of telecommuting and technology tools (like Facebook Work) and
a growing productivity pressure workers demand flexibility (Schawbel, 2015).
The sharing economy and freelance marketplaces are expanding and profession-
als have more opportunities for
instead of full time jobs. The word
scribes all sorts of flexible employment: Workers are employed on a particular
task or for a defined time. The
economy is driven by cost pressures faced by
employers on the one side and the growing desire of employees to have side-
experiences for bigger professional independence (Hansen, 2012).
Professional workers are switching jobs more often and companies are increa-
singly hiring so-called boomerang employees (leave the company to return later)
(Schawbel, 2015). Through technology employers can easily keep in touch with
the former and potential talent (through LinkedIn or Facebook). Nonetheless,
employment is connected with more job insecurity and regulation for
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worker protection is still rare, although there are first signs in support for more
protection by the European Parliament (Bershidsky, 2017). The case of UBER
illustrated how protest reactions can lead to regulatory initiatives in numerous
3.5. Autonomy
As theory suggests, the more autonomy an employee enjoys the happier he or
she is. How to infuse more autonomy in daily work show the examples of 3M
and Google that put aside up to 20 percent of the workweek for employees to
work on projects of their own choice. This discretionary time has led to many
innovations like the development of Gmail or other innovative applications
(Kavanagh, 2016). Autonomy walks hand in hand with accountability and good
self-organization. Workforce and management will need to learn how to handle
autonomy for achievement of common business goal.
3.6. Vision and Purpose
A key for autonomy to be productive is a high engagement. For new generations,
you do the work you do (Kavanagh, 2016) is of utmost importance.
Many companies that concentrate a lot on
can enhance on the
a broader, social purpose.
Again, Google and 3M allow employees to work on tasks that are of personal
interest, so-called
non-commissioned work time
and suggest wide-ranging re-
forms of the traditional appraisal system (Kavanagh, 2016). Spending spare or
part time in voluntary activities with social purpose is spreading and sharing
platforms supporting this trend like
are on the rise (Smedley,
2013). Because of growing importance for employee motivation and engage-
ment, a key quality of a leader is the ability to establish and communicate the
uniting vision and reason for doing business (Lipman, 2016). This ability
concerns being optimistic, thinking that everything is possible, having set short-
term goals to realize the vision, working long hours, having a high-energy level,
being not afraid of failure as well as focusing more on the outcome than the
process of how something is achieved (Hirsch, 2016).
Entrepreneurial vision is a driving force for the emergence and success of
global start-ups (Andersson & Wictor, 2003). As the examples of Elon Musk,
founder of
and several other Silicon Valley companies, show
dreaming big
and having a powerful vision can combine solutions of complex
societal problems, disruption of established capital-intensive car-making and at-
tracting capital and inspiring employees and society (Economist, 2016).
3.7. Dynamic and Agile Teams
Flexibility, autonomy and self-determination call for more dynamic work or-
ganization. The leading music sharing service
has been leading for sever-
al years the ranking of the most popular places to work in Sweden.
87% of global staff would recommend the company to a friend, according to a
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study by Glassdoor (Skapinger, 2016).
Employees can find sometimes these autonomous teams chaotic with dupli-
cate and uncoordinated efforts. For this reason,
engages also the so-
called agile coaching by team lead to hover over the largely autonomous project
teams. Insurance company
Simply Business
based in UK engages also cross-
function teams to solve problems rather than having purely marketing experts
on marketing issues and finance experts in finance. The company was ranked
first in the
Sunday Times
100 Best Companies to Work for (Chahal, 2016).
3.8. Constant Collaboration and Networking
Enhanced by new technology and communication possibilities, broad collabora-
tion and exchange of ideas are driving forces for creativity. On the one side, es-
tablished companies rub shoulders with starts ups. In London,
offer space on their premises to innovators and start-ups or
establish dedicated campuses for open innovation (Gaskell, 2016). This allows
for meeting interesting people, keeping a closer eye on talent and start up ideas
with potential. On the other side, employees are motivated to go out of the office
premises and freely collaborate, like the example of the Hoffice movement
Co-working platforms are popular among start-ups, they offer flexible ar-
rangements, and it is about co-operating and not competing, about building
communities, exchanging of experiences and learning. Still there is limited re-
search on the intercultural dimensions of digital networking and collaboration.
Culture influences the definition of autonomy, time, and flexibility. There is a
possibility that this new world of creativity could be possible only in countries
and team of similar culture and subculture.
3.9. Work-Life-Balance
For millennials and Generation Z high priority growth opportunities and work-
life balance have higher priority over salary, when selecting the company to
work for. They look for mentors and supportersfor coaches. Growth is con-
nected with development of knowledge and capabilities as well as freedom to act
and create (Bencsik et al., 2016). Technology leads companies to require availa-
bility also outside of working hours, working hours are constantly extending and
a growing group of employees are suffering a kind of burnout. The importance
of a healthy working life is increasing with more technological possibilities to
check for breaks and health condition in real time (Schawbel, 2016).
3.10. Smart Workplaces
Basic condition for the modern workplace is the availability of the right tech-
nology. In the
Future Workforce Study
organized by
with 3801
respondents from 10 countries, more than 50%, that is, the majority expects to
work in a
officemeaning a more interconnected, agile workforce (Ber-
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nier, 2016). 82% said that workplace tech would have an influence when they are
deciding to take a job (Bernier, 2016). According to other studies, 71% of the
generation aged 16 to 24 want smart devices (Lipman, 2014).
Smart watches or other wearables will be widely used to track personal health
but also be more productive while retrieving and organizing information in a
24/7 business environment. Platforms are continuously evolving driven by a
collective effort but without wide discussion on what implications, new tools
would have on the working place. Popularity of platforms changes and new
platform emerge, the tools of the next years are difficult to predict and thus dif-
ficult to analyze.
3.11. Creative Office Design
Contemporary office design reflects on the above mentioned trends in the work
organization: It enhances flexibility, autonomy, collaboration and work-life-
balance and helps attract top talent. Companies are paying extra attention to of-
fice environments to make employees more productive and happier at work. Of-
fice is becoming more decentralized and space is shrinking (Schawbel, 2015).
Knowledge and creative work demand more diverse options and a move away
from a single open space. The office design of
ally has been copied by traditional companies (Wasik, 2016).
Areas are designed for different types of work: creative spaces with walls for
writing notes,
silence boxes
where people can concentrate in peace,
as well as relaxation rooms with games consoles and spacious kitchens with filled
fridges. Companies, property developers and designers confirm that the office
today supports the creativity and collaboration as well as work efficiency in-
creases when no one imposes where they have to work (Wasik, 2016). Dutch
goes so far that every day at 6:00 pm all boards disap-
pear—they are being pulled up to force employees to go home (Thomas, 2014).
3.12. Global Entrepreneurs as Leadership Role Model
The described trends in the workforce and workplace are accompanied of
changes of management style and challenges for traditional leadership models.
With the rise of the sharing economy and quickly internationalizing start-up
businesses that disrupt existing ones, a new role model of the global entrepre-
neur attracts attention. Epitomized by the founders of
these leaders set new standards as their companies became the
most popular choices for work internationally (Dill, 2015). Global entrepreneurs
establish and manage small size start-ups that grow fast on a global scale often
transforming whole industries (Cavusgil & Knight, 2014). Their defining skills
are embracing change, ability to establish a vision, high tolerance of ambiguity
and integrity, knowledge of the importance of individuals (Hirsch, 2016). They
empower others to act independently on their tasks establishing flatter hierar-
chies, care for their employee’s wellbeing and give them the freedom and flex-
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ibility over their work-life balance (Andersson & Florén, 2009). The new leader-
ship style is also a reflective one, so that present business is developed with
energy and focus and at the same time emerging opportunities for future busi-
ness are reflected on.
3.13. Inclusive and Reflective Leadership
Research confirms the need for more inclusive and supportive leadership models
that contribute to employee’s sense of belonging, engagement and job satisfac-
tion (Chahal, 2016). According to the UK-based insurance company
, ranked Company No. 1 in the Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to
Work for, including best leader award, a company has to create mere the condi-
tions for everyone’s success than trying to define the success for each employee.
When the company gives employees the freedom to choose the tasks and
projects they work on and how they accomplish them, a bond of trust is created.
Research reveals strong relationship between inclusive leadership and self-rat-
ings of performance, productivity, satisfaction and engagement (Prime & Salib,
2014). Inclusive leadership allows for higher priority to be put on
new products, services and markets, than on
focusing on control of cost
and procedures (Chahal, 2016).
3.14. Managing a Virtual Team
With activities spread over self-organizing autonomous teams and talented indi-
viduals, a global entrepreneur requires the ability to build and manage a virtual
team. Grown up in the atmosphere of spontaneous collaboration and mastering
the art of social networking, global entrepreneurs are well equipped to under-
stand the dynamics of a virtual team and the qualities the team members need to
have. For effective team management, coordinated times, prepared agenda with
priorities and supporting materials are required as well as time to develop rela-
tionships with everyone for example by sharing personal information (Hirsch,
2016). As the importance of self-organization is increasingly questioned by gen-
eration Z, a successful global entrepreneur should be able to set clear goals and
manage chaos without damaging a creative and collaborative atmosphere. For
sees employee failures as a way of learning and employees
should think by themselves in order to come up with creative ideas to solve
problems (Hirsch, 2016).
3.15. Transparency
Not only clarity about the vision but also growing importance of transparency in
daily business changes management style. Employees are grown up with widely
available and accessible information (Lipman, 2016) and demand it also in re-
spect of the business they are working for. Two UK based examples illustrate a
new approach to internal communication (Chahal, 2016). At
, a
leading travel search site, the CEO attends employee briefings, holds monthly
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10.4236/aasoci.2018.83013 227 Advances in Applied Sociology
town halls and blogs regularly. At
, a print solution provider, the CEO
records weekly
for employees and provides access to unedited meeting
notes and financial results.
3.16. Coaching and Empowering Self-Development
Some think that entrepreneurs are born but studies such as the one from EY
(2011) stress that they are made rather than born. The EY study conducted with
ten entrepreneurs highlights that an entrepreneur gains experience through
education and working for others which can then help him or her to acquire the
knowledge they need in order to start their own business. It is natural to coach
back, breed an entrepreneurial spirit and empower employees to take charge of
their personal development. For example, at Skyscanner internal corporate edu-
cation is a top management task: The CEO holds a five-week program for high
performing employees on entrepreneurial thinking and chief operating officer
organizes a seven-week program on leadership in practice (Chahal, 2016). When
summarizing the challenges for leadership styles, leadership development should
focus on skills such as coaching and mentoring, communication of values, col-
laboration and developing means and techniques to help employees to find their
own development path.
4. Discussion
Most of the described new trends and developments are not well researched and
controversial. Therefore, it is still unclear how the rise of the shared economy in-
fluences the working place, the leadership skills and everyone’s productivity. In
addition to this, future research could deal with the impact of regulation on the
gig economy and further investigate what kind of regulation could be effective
for global start-ups.
Likewise, future research could shed light on new technology tools. For exam-
ple, platforms are continuously evolving but without wide discussion on what
implications new tools would have on the working place. As recent events have
shown, only after a feature is publicly criticized a new development follows.
Nevertheless, the popularity of platforms changes over time and the tools of the
next years are difficult to predict and thus difficult to analyze.
The same holds for the evolvement of working processes because of the digita-
lization and the disappearance of whole process steps as well as the emergence of
new job descriptionsall of which make it extremely difficult for a serious
long-term research.
Another point worth discussing in this context are intercultural challenges.
Even with no geographic borders, there exist a wide range of different defini-
tions of autonomy, time, and flexibility in different cultures. This phenomenon
might be linked with intercultural problems that could arise and should there-
fore be further investigated. Another risk that might occur is that the new beau-
tiful world of autonomy, flexibility and creativity could only be realized in coun-
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tries or subcultures sharing similar values and backgrounds.
However, recent scandals in global start-ups like UBER shattered the gla-
mourous image of the whole tech industry, which has been the trendsetter in
terms of work processes, technology solutions and leadership styles. In general,
an increasing wave of regulation is to be expected. Nevertheless, the impact of
the possible new regulation on the business models and the working processes as
well as culture remains to be seen.
5. Conclusions
Whereas the Industrial Revolution separated housing and workplaces, the Digi-
tal Revolution seems to again bring together both areas of life. Not only can we
today observe major shifts of risks and responsibilities from the employer to the
employee through, for example, more project-related work, often team work
goes in line with flatter hierarchies or, more generally, a decentralization of the
organization of work.
Against this background, softer and at the same time smarter solutions appear
to be a good mechanism to adapt to the increasing changes as regards the
workplace. Coping with the challenges of the Digital Revolution might be suc-
cessful through further developing entrepreneurial attitudes, as for instance ex-
emplified by the picture of the intrapreneur from Pinchot (1985).
During the investigation, the authors detected comparably good results of the
Scandinavian member states of the European Union. Therefore, light was shed
on the particular Scandinavian Management Model, as this approach appeared
to be better prepared for the future than other models.
Surprisingly, the consensus and cooperative management style, where many
decisions are made through democratic processes and a rather participative lea-
dership style, revealed many similarities in view of modern workplaces, which
we find todaynot only in Europe.
By using the latest insights regarding successful companies tackling the de-
mands of the Digital Revolution, it is shown that by using more flexible and au-
tonomous work arrangements, a constant collaboration and networking can be
triggered. Thereby, smart workplaces, including often creative office designs,
evolve. Entrepreneurial skills together with the willingness to gradually take on
more responsibility for oneself both on the job and during free time become in-
creasingly important.
This might also result in a more inclusive and reflective leadership style, as
employees today grow up with widely accessible information. That is, the
coaching and empowering of self-development is likely to become a distinct fea-
ture of modern day managers.
Given the different stages of development in view of the various world re-
gions, a widespread use of the suggested management methods appears to be
overambitious and not workable. With this in mind, it remains to be seen
whether a certain management method will prevail in the long run. In addition,
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... Location independent access, that is, remote work or telecommuting, offers a number of possible arrangements for employees ranging from flexible work options, which allow flexibility in managing work time and location of the work, to a work-at-home options, in which employees can work from their home on a daily basis (Olson, 1983). As the teams become more agile and self-organising, building virtual teams with talented individuals spread across the globe is vital to remain competitive for a global company (Kendzia and Björck, 2018). The opportunities opened up by having location independent access to the workplace are described in Table 6. ...
... In the era of distributed workplaces, effective communication plays an important role in the successful collaboration of team members (Turner et al., 2010). As technology has advanced, communication, collaboration, and exchange of ideas have accelerated creativity in workplaces (Kendzia and Björck, 2018). Therefore, multinational organisations need to have knowledge of instant communication and the art of social networking to remain adaptive (Kendzia and Björck, 2018). ...
... As technology has advanced, communication, collaboration, and exchange of ideas have accelerated creativity in workplaces (Kendzia and Björck, 2018). Therefore, multinational organisations need to have knowledge of instant communication and the art of social networking to remain adaptive (Kendzia and Björck, 2018). ...
Agile project management uses more digital online tools and methods to replace traditional and offline forms of project management. Agile methodologies have also claimed to make employees more productive and satisfied than those under traditional methodologies. Despite its increasing popularity, discussions about the effects of digitisation on employees' job satisfaction in agile workplaces are scarce. Following a case study design, this study fills this gap in the literature by analysing the IT department of a marketing consultancy firm. By verifying the presence of five core job characteristics, namely, skill variety, task identity, autonomy, task significance, and feedback, which are based on the job characteristics model by Hackman and Oldham, we draw conclusions about the satisfaction of employees in a digitised agile workplace. In doing so, we introduce two new elements to the model, location independent access and workplace communication, which help to understand the effect of digitisation on future workplaces accurately.
... Work, and the way that organizations and employees interact, is undergoing transformative changes with a multitude of implications for managers and leaders (Bowen, 2016;Kendzia & Björck, 2018;Subramony et al., 2018). These changes have been underpinned by a 'perfect storm' of disruptions caused by the rapidly growing service and experience economy (Jain et al., 2017), as well as by technology, globalization, the growing transactional nature of employment and the 'gig' economy (Veen et al., 2020). ...
Through the lens of hospitality, an industry with chronic retention issues, this article seeks to stimulate reflection on labor-intensive industries and how we can reimagine their responses to an evolving labor market environment when seeking to attract and retain management talent. Drawing on identity economics, whereby employees' identity utility is an important incentive in employment decision-making, the necessity for a multilevel perspective of identity formation is advanced. Positing that employees' work identity is informed by individual (micro), organizational (meso), and professional (macro) level factors, this perspective illuminates the important role that macro level stakeholders play in employee identity formation, particularly in the hospitality industry. Further, it emphasizes the interconnectedness of levels in shaping an employee's identity and career decisions. Through a series of research questions, a line of inquiry is articulated for the purpose of addressing the challenges of attracting and retaining management talent from a holistic identity formation perspective.
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At present, more and more researches deals with the characteristic features of generation Y and generation Z. As it is about the present and future generations, corporate success and the competitive operation are determined by the behav our of these generations in the long-run. Researches justifies that there are significant differences between the two generations despite the similarities. These differences appear rather emphasized in the corporate environment when several questions arise at workplaces in the process of cooperation – especially in the field of knowledge-sharing and knowledge transfer-regarding the characteristics of the two generations. Last year, the authors carried out a quantitative research by questionnaires in order to reveal what the managing of these two generations mean for the managers and also what difficulties occur when the two generations cooperate with each other and with elder generations as well. The main question of the research was how to approach the new generations from the view of HR? Although the research cannot be considered representative (410 respondents participated in the survey), it can give a picture about the examined issues. The hypothesis phrased by the authors was justified according to which of the HR activities have to adapt to the requirements of the new generations upon their appearance.
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Our 2004 Journal of International Business Studies article, “Innovation, Organizational Capabilities, and the Born Global Firm” provided a framework for the phenomenon of early and rapid internationalization among young, entrepreneurial firms. This work can be characterized as an integration of marketing, entrepreneurial, and capability-based thinking around exporting, positioned as the born global exporter. The article also reported findings from a national study of start-up firms that expanded abroad early in their evolution. In the present commentary, we reflect on the contributions of the 2004 article, review the scholarship on the topic over the past decade, and offer suggestions for future inquiry. While the incidence of early internationalization by firms was a novel concept two decades ago, today such firms are found in abundance in many countries. Yet many unresolved research questions remain, including the crucial topic of what happens to “born global” firms as they grow and mature over time. Similarly, the issue of why some firms internationalize early, others late in their evolution, and still others choose to remain local, is a fundamental question for international business scholarship.
I: Background.- 1. An Introduction.- 2. Conceptualizations of Intrinsic Motivation and Self-Determination.- II: Self-Determination Theory.- 3. Cognitive Evaluation Theory: Perceived Causality and Perceived Competence.- 4. Cognitive Evaluation Theory: Interpersonal Communication and Intrapersonal Regulation.- 5. Toward an Organismic Integration Theory: Motivation and Development.- 6. Causality Orientations Theory: Personality Influences on Motivation.- III: Alternative Approaches.- 7. Operant and Attributional Theories.- 8. Information-Processing Theories.- IV: Applications and Implications.- 9. Education.- 10. Psychotherapy.- 11. Work.- 12. Sports.- References.- Author Index.
As the current recession ends, many workers will not be returning to the jobs they once held--those jobs are gone. In The New Division of Labor, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane show how computers are changing the employment landscape and how the right kinds of education can ease the transition to the new job market. The book tells stories of people at work--a high-end financial advisor, a customer service representative, a pair of successful chefs, a cardiologist, an automotive mechanic, the author Victor Hugo, floor traders in a London financial exchange. The authors merge these stories with insights from cognitive science, computer science, and economics to show how computers are enhancing productivity in many jobs even as they eliminate other jobs--both directly and by sending work offshore. At greatest risk are jobs that can be expressed in programmable rules--blue collar, clerical, and similar work that requires moderate skills and used to pay middle-class wages. The loss of these jobs leaves a growing division between those who can and cannot earn a good living in the computerized economy. Left unchecked, the division threatens the nation's democratic institutions. The nation's challenge is to recognize this division and to prepare the population for the high-wage/high-skilled jobs that are rapidly growing in number--jobs involving extensive problem solving and interpersonal communication. Using detailed examples--a second grade classroom, an IBM managerial training program, Cisco Networking Academies--the authors describe how these skills can be taught and how our adjustment to the computerized workplace can begin in earnest.