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Developing a Digital-First Workforce

Decision Rights/Governance, Employee Experience, Talent

MIT CISR research has shown that organizations that devolve decision making to empowered cross-functional teams outperform their industry peers. Yet in addition to having the authority to decide for themselves what they will accomplish and how to get things done, these teams require digital skillsets to effectively address emerging business priorities and drive organizational transformation. In this research project we will therefore explore organizations’ talent development approaches, with a particular focus on the skills and approaches required to develop a digital-first workforce. Research questions include:

  • What skills do large, established organizations consider essential for a digital-first workforce?
  • How do these organizations identify and classify the required skills in relation to existing skillsets?
  • What activities and approaches help organizations to most effectively upskill and reskill their entire workforce?

Methods: Interviews with leaders who are involved in (setting up) enterprise-wide upskilling and/or reskilling efforts

Seeking: Leaders who are involved in (setting up) enterprise-wide upskilling and/or reskilling efforts. In addition, the research team would welcome the involvement of an organization that has made significant progress in developing a workforce that is digital-first.

Contact: Nick van der Meulen


Nick van der Meulen, Research Scientist

Nick’s work centers on how companies need to organize themselves differently in the face of continuous technological change. Nick is passionate about separating hype from reality using quantitative data, while also studying the complexity of business practice through in-depth case studies.

Cynthia M. Beath, Professor Emerita & Researcher

Cynthia is a professor emerita at the McCombs School of Business, University of Texas at Austin and an MIT CISR academic research fellow. Her research interests include the study of how organizations redesign themselves for the digital era and how they get value from data assets.

Dorothy E. Leidner, Leslie H. Goldberg Jefferson Scholars Foundation Distinguished Professor of AI Ethics

Dorothy is the Leslie H. Goldberg Jefferson Scholars Foundation Distinguished Professor in Business Ethics at the University of Virginia, as well as an MIT CISR academic research fellow. Her research focuses on the ethics of artificial intelligence. 

Olgerta Tona, Senior Lecturer

Olgerta is an assistant professor at the department of Applied IT at the University of Gothenburg and an MIT CISR academic research fellow. Her research focuses on the digitalization of personal data and the use of data analytics in organizations. 

Related Publications

MIT CISR research is funded by the more than seventy-five member organizations that support our work and participate in our consortium. 

MIT CISR Patrons
Axway, Inc.
Pegasystems Inc.
The Ogilvy Group
MIT CISR Sponsors
Alcon Vision
Allstate Insurance Company
ANZ Banking Group (Australia)
Banco Bradesco S.A. (Brazil)
Banco do Brasil S.A.
Bank of Queensland (Australia)
Barclays (UK)
BlueScope Steel (Australia)
BNP Paribas (France)
Caterpillar, Inc.
Cemex (Mexico)
Cochlear Limited (Australia)
Commonwealth Superannuation Corp. (Australia)
Cuscal Limited (Australia)
CVS Health
Dawn Foods
DBS Bank Ltd. (Singapore)
Doosan Corporation (Korea)
Fidelity Investments
Fomento Economico Mexicano, S.A.B., de C.V.
Fortum (Finland)
Gilbane Building Co.
Johnson & Johnson (J&J)
Kaiser Permanente
King & Wood Mallesons (Australia)
Koç Holding (Turkey)
Nasdaq, Inc.
NN Insurance Eurasia NV
Nomura Holdings, Inc. (Japan)
Nomura Research Institute, Ltd. Systems Consulting Division (Japan)
Novo Nordisk A/S (Denmark)
OCP Group
Pacific Life Insurance Company
Posten Bring AS (Norway)
Principal Life Insurance Company
Ramsay Health Care (Australia)
Raytheon Technologies
Scentre Group Limited (Australia)
Schneider Electric Industries SAS (France)
Stockland (Australia)
Tabcorp Holdings (Australia)
Telstra Limited (Australia)
Terumo Corporation (Japan)
Tetra Pak (Sweden)
Truist Financial Corporation
UniSuper Management Pty Ltd (Australia)
Uniting (Australia)
Webster Bank, N.A.
Westpac Banking Corporation (Australia)
WestRock Company
Wolters Kluwer
Xenco Medical
Zoetis Services LLC

MIT CISR Associate Members

MIT CISR wishes to thank all of our associate members for their support and contributions.

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