Today’s information technology has shaped all aspects of human life. It is only imperative that information technology has also impacted all different landscapes of business disciplines. It enables the rise of the knowledge economy and information economy where organizations depend heavily on rich data gathered in real-time. It affects all companies in their capacity as producers or as users (Berton, 2012).
To face the knowledge economy, companies should do more than just adapt, but also take benefit from it. While scientists and engineers are those on the front line to keep digging for another breakthrough in the technology, managers should be the people who have the best wit to optimize the use of it for competitive advantage. While fundamental managerial skills are still relevant, today’s managers should have skills that may not be required a decade ago.
The first essential skill is the ability to leverage information technology for competitive advantage. This skill requires the optimization of hard skills and soft skills, such as the intelligence to swiftly learn and understand the technology, the talent to seek an opportunity gap, and the leadership to rally the pack for the goal. Technology by itself is hardly the solution, but organizations can weave technology into their operations in such ways that can optimize profits while winning competitions (Information Systems: A Manager’s Guide to Harnessing Technology, 2015).
The second necessary manager skill in knowledge economy is to communicate effectively through the various channels, which some are not even available a decade ago but are massively in use by the public now. Birkinshaw et al. (2020) stated in the latest research that knowledge employees are more productive doing their work at home. This insight brings concerns and challenges for managers in managing up and down, as well as managing across. Another research found that 95% of conflict is caused by a lack of clarity (Latham, 2021). The skill to tackle these concerns and challenges using effective and clear communication through various channels will be vital in achieving the common goal.
Effective communication skill is not only in terms of teamwork between members of the organization, but also with external entities such as customers, users, providers, or even the government. Knowing how and when to utilize the right communication channels will be crucial in delivering the right messages to the right recipients.
The last skill I would like to highlight is related to ethical issues. With the rapid advancement of information technology, the ethics bar for managers has never been higher (Information Systems: A Manager’s Guide to Harnessing Technology, 2015)The skill is critical because ethical issues are developing as quickly as the advancement of technology. The rapid flow of information to the general public will also create a greater threat to companies to protect their reputation.
Berton, F. (2012). Skills that are valued in the knowledge economy: an examination of the experience of French workers in the 2000s. Work Organisation, Labour and Globalisation, 6(2), 168–184. https://doi.org/10.13169/workorgalaboglob.6.2.0168 Birkinshaw, J., Cohen, J., & Stach, P. (2020, August 31). Research: Knowledge Workers Are More Productive from Home. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved April 10, 2022, from https://hbr.org/2020/08/research-knowledge-workers-are-more-productive-from-home Information Systems: A Manager’s Guide to Harnessing Technology. (2015). University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing. Retrieved April 10, 2022, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/annlatham/2021/08/08/managers-and-knowledge-workers-have-it-tough-and-heres-why/?sh=5a3aba234453