Developing a Model for Information Society Competencies Required by Managers in the Information Society

Developing a Model for Information Society Competencies Required by Managers in the Information Society

Elizabeth Broos (Netherlands Defence Academy, The Netherlands)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-782-9.ch028
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Abstract

The purpose of this research is an attempt to obtain insight into the information, communication and technological competencies that managers currently need in order to work effectively in the information society. This is obtained by creating a model for those Information Society competencies for managers. This model is based on the results of a literature review, done in combination with a case study via a survey conducted in a large non-profit organization in the Netherlands. What is found is that especially the competencies ‘Having operational knowledge and insight into ICT’, ‘Finding and evaluating information on the Internet’ and ‘Participating in a learning organization’ are important factors that influence Information Society competence. The model might have implications for the curricula in higher education, especially for management training. The model may as well be an argument towards the provision of suitable performance support for just-in-time-learning for managers.
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Introduction

The information society is characterized by privatization, globalization and information and communication technology (ICT). As a consequence large amounts of information, international cooperation and networks have become part of the work environment (Boonstra, 2005; Feather, 2004; Hargrove, 2001). A digital work environment can be seen as a work environment where ICT is regularly used. In such an environment, but especially where the Internet and mobile technologies are commonplace, information security risks are increased considerably (Siponen, 2001). Furthermore, continuing changes in organizations need to be managed effectively (Boonstra, 2005: Hargrove, 2001). Dealing effectively with information and communication using the technology, have become important issues in organizations, but at the same time this has proven to be very complex and managers often struggle to define their role in the new working situation (Beijen, Broos & Lucas, 2003). Literature shows that managers especially play a vital role in implementing ICT in the organization (Boonstra, 2005; Davenport & Prusak, 1997; Hargrove, 2001). Hence the focus of this paper is on how managers deal with the changed ways of working in the information society.

The purpose of this paper is twofold. Firstly, the main focus of this paper is to provide some insight into the information, communication and technological competencies which managers need in order to work and lead effectively in the information society, by providing a model for Information Society competencies for managers. Secondly, the implications of this model for management training and just-in-time-learning support are considered. Hence, in this paper some answers are given to the two questions:

  • What are the important Information Society competencies that managers need in order to work and lead effectively in the context of the information society

    • and

  • What are the implications of the findings of this research for management training and the provision of just in time learning support?

Key Terms in this Chapter

Digital work environment: The digital work environment consists of all the information and communication technologies available in the work environment. This includes hardware, software and network facilities as well as mobile technologies, the Internet and the companies Intranet

Performance Support: Performance support includes all (digital) job aids that are available and accessible in the work environment that could enhance performance. Examples are (online) work instructions and information, instructional video’s or a presentation of examples in the working context, but also via an online community of learners

Information Society competencies for managers: Information Society competencies consist of a combination of knowledge and insight, skills and behavior as well as attitudes that managers need to work and lead effectively in the information society

Learning Organization: The organization as an integral and dynamic system can learn, but so can the individuals in it. Knowledge management and communities of practitioners are important characteristics of the learning organization. The strategies and techniques that are available in such organization include training as well as performance support and are increasingly dependent on Information and communication technologies. However, the participation of the individuals as well as the social structures in the organization also remain important

Just-in-time-learning: Learning when you need to know as opposed to learning according to a preset curriculum. Just-in-time-learning does not replace traditional learning, but could enhance performance

Competency management: Competency management is finding a balance between the (future) needs of the organization in terms of competencies and the development plans and competence of the individuals in it. This term is closely related to human resource development.

Information Society: The information society is seen as a society in which organizations in modern countries currently need to operate in order to be effective and able to compete. Globalization as well as information and communication technologies are important characteristics of the information society.

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