ECIS 2020 Research Papers


Competence development at work has since long been a core managerial challenge and a topic that has received a steady research interest. In academia, the topic has been explored in what we see as two scholarly traditions: 1) the earlier scholarship on ‘competence’ where discussions of technology have largely been absent, and 2) the later scholarship on ‘digital competence’ where the focus has been on the individual’s abilities to use particular Information Technology (IT) artifacts. With the increased sophistication of digitalization in today’s society, we suggest—while attending to digitalization—competence scholarship needs to go beyond the study of individuals’ ability to use particular IT artifacts. One way to do so is to investigate how digitalization transforms work conditions, and how individuals respond to these shifts. In this study, we focus on the role of today’s cyber-infrastructural technology, such as social media, in re-writing work conditions. By examining, through in-depth interviews, how the work of communication practitioners is digitalized, we 1) extend the conceptualization of digital competence beyond the customary IT competence, and 2) suggest two levels of competence based on two empirically grounded conceptualizations; competence as the optimization of existing resources, and competence as the envisioning of new possibilities.



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