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Digital competencies in communication management: a conceptual framework of Readiness for Industry 4.0 for communication professionals in the workplace

Jeonghyun Janice Lee (Advertising and Public Relations, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, USA)
Juan Meng (Advertising and Public Relations, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, USA)

Journal of Communication Management

ISSN: 1363-254X

Article publication date: 25 June 2021

Issue publication date: 5 November 2021

1296

Abstract

Purpose

This research is motivated to explore communication professionals' understanding of the digital changes brought by the Industry 4.0 revolution and how such changes may affect the strategies and skills expected in effective communication management. A specific focus of the research is to define the concept of Readiness for Industry 4.0 in communication and propose a theoretical framework to address the key dimensions of Readiness for Industry 4.0 as related to communication management.

Design/methodology/approach

A mixed research design was employed to fulfill the goal of this research. First, the authors took a grounded theory approach in proposing, conceptualizing and constructing the concept of Readiness for Industry 4.0 by reviewing a wider literature on technology and communication. As part of the conceptualization process, the authors proposed five dimensions which encompass the complexity of building capacity in communication practice to effectively manage changes associated with Industry 4.0. Second, the authors used a qualitative research method, in-depth interviews, to gain insights from 16 senior communication professionals working in South Korea.

Findings

The study’s interview results confirmed the challenge in finding a universal definition of Readiness for Industry 4.0, even though the interviewed senior communication professionals have widely recognized the changes in the workplace brought by the Industry 4.0. Our interviewees agreed that their mindset is ready for the changes. However, they addressed the need for communication professionals to continue to learn and build their knowledge and skills from multiple perspectives. More specifically, skill sets and knowledge in cognitive analytics, data management, technology literacy, sense making skills for digital transformation and digital competencies in crisis management are desired and necessary.

Originality/value

This research advances theory building in communication management by addressing the importance of digital competencies in the workplace. By proposing a theoretical framework to explain the Readiness for Industry 4.0, this article contributes to our knowledge of digital transformation and its impact on effective communication. Moreover, by having deep conversations with industry leaders who are in the forefront of managing the challenges associated with technology advancement, this article enriches its practical implications by linking the discussion to the proposed theoretical framework.

Keywords

Citation

Lee, J.J. and Meng, J. (2021), "Digital competencies in communication management: a conceptual framework of Readiness for Industry 4.0 for communication professionals in the workplace", Journal of Communication Management, Vol. 25 No. 4, pp. 417-436. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCOM-10-2020-0116

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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