Transforming the workplace through digital literacy

Cheuk, Bonnie and Reedy, Katharine (2018). Transforming the workplace through digital literacy. In: Reedy, Katharine and Parker, Jo eds. Digital Literacy Unpacked. London: Facet Publishing, pp. 169–178.

Abstract

In this chapter we explore the role of digital literacy in the workplace to enable employees to work productively and effectively together, and ultimately to shape and deliver company strategy. The rapid advancement of technology offers new opportunities and challenges for many organisations. Employees from five generations working under one roof have very different (and constantly changing) expectations of the digital services they need to get their work done. By building employees’ digital capabilities at all levels, the full potential of technology to transform ways of working that create value for employees and customers can be unlocked. This chapter draws on an example whereby an enterprise-wide social networking, communication and collaboration platform is introduced as a strategic initiative to become a more agile and responsive organisation, with the need to transform the way employees connect, communicate and collaborate across boundaries. We discuss the opportunities and challenges that companies face when these kind of disruptive technologies are introduced, how digital literacies gaps are exposed, and what it means to be a digitally capable employee in this fast changing world. Drawing on Dervin’s Sense-Making Methodology, we also explore digital leadership – digital literacies at the highest level. This is where leaders not only set a new direction to use digital technologies to create a new business model and operating model, they also need to embrace a leadership style that is human - “communicative” - in order to draw on the ideas from the whole network to experiment, co-create and learn/unlearn ways of working and solutions made possible by new technologies.

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