Economy & Politics

Exclusive study: Managers doubt their companies’ tech competence

Digitization is a tricky task – and not all managers can unravel the situation in their companiesGetty Images

There is great concern on the executive floors of the German economy about the digital future viability of companies and business models. This picture shows a study by the Bertelsmann Foundation and the University of Witten / Herdecke, for which almost 1000 executives were interviewed in 2019. had the results in advance.

According to the study, only a fifth of the managers surveyed are convinced that their own company is up to date with future technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data, blockchain or Industry 4.0. 49 percent of those surveyed attested that their companies had a lot of catching up to do when it came to digitization.

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According to 61 percent, the digital transformation is an important strategic topic within the company, but the topic “is mainly viewed from a cost perspective”, as almost 40 percent of the respondents admit – not necessarily a good omen in view of the shortage of funds due to the Corona crisis. 45 percent of executives are responsible for the digital backlog due to the economic policy framework, which is not conducive to innovation.

Study author Guido Möllering from the Reinhard Mohn Institute for Corporate Management surprised the unconfident assessment of his own situation: “We were surprised at how widespread the assessment is of being behind,” said Möllering. “We assumed that many companies would have a more positive picture in 2019. Because digitization is no longer a completely new topic. “

It is also remarkable for Möllering that many company managers did not answer clearly in the survey. When asked whether their own work area was already badly affected by the changes caused by digitalization, almost a third did not have a clear answer. “The fact that so many managers have no clear picture of digitization is worrying,” says the study author. “Because a manager who is still groping in the dark is not the one who pushes a topic particularly strongly. It is fundamentally not wrong to weigh it up – but if you wait too long, you miss opportunities. ”

“The image of lonely wolf who decides alone is outdated – younger managers in particular prefer to make decisions together, complement each other and distribute strategic responsibility”

Guido Möllering

Möllering suspects that the reason for this is “that we have a penchant for perfectionism – that we would rather not do anything than try something half-baked”. But he sees an opportunity in the current corona crisis: “Because it shows that improvisation is important – those who were not able to do so are in a worse position today.” Possibly executives “are now more willing to try out digital strategies and working methods”.

To remedy the deficits, the researcher recommends help for further training – also in management. “Most managers only have a rough idea of ​​artificial intelligence,” says Möllering. “In order to familiarize yourself with the technologies,” they should also be supported in further training. “

On the other hand, he hopes for a cultural change in the management levels: “Managers sometimes shy away from making major strategic decisions because they have to make them alone – and then bear all responsibility.” Here Möllering observes a change for the better: “The image of a lonely wolf The one who decides alone is out of date – younger managers in particular prefer to make decisions together, complement each other and distribute strategic responsibility. “

The article appears in 7/2020. interested in Click here for the Subscription shopwhere you can order the print edition. Our digital edition is available at iTunes and GooglePlay


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