The Manager as an Organisation Agent during the Fourth Industrial Revolution
Purpose: This paper, which was inspired by challenges faced by organisations transforming towards the Fourth Industrial Revolution (FIR), explores the role of managers as organisation agents in this process. Design/Methodology/Approach: A qualitative method and an interpretative paradigm are used to analyse the outcomes of semi-structured individual in-depth interviews conducted with a purposively assembled sample of 12 managers. Findings: The analysis determined three main thematic threads describing the roles and attributes that the FIR requires of managers. The first thematic thread concerned the impact of the FIR on the functioning of organisations and their employees. The following roles were further identified: talent manager, development initiator, change visionary, and transparent leader. With regard to attributes, strategic thinking, flexibility, and responsiveness to change, creativity and innovation, an ability to cooperate and inspiringly motivate employees, agility in seizing opportunities created by the FIR and an ability to cope with its challenges were indicated as essential. Originality/Value: Based on the study’s findings, a preliminary model of the FIR as the driver of new roles for managers-agents is proposed. The paper makes an important theoretical and practical contribution to the understanding of the essential role of managers-agents during the FIR. It has been prepared in response to the paucity of studies on this subject. The findings of the study are hoped to help managers to better understand their role during the FIR and to adjust to it.