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Mastering the digital transformation with change competence and digital leadership

Technology-driven change processes are enormous challenges. An article by our Dean Prof. Wolfgang Güttel et al deals with these challenges and discusses change competence and digital leadership skills as strategies to overcome them.


By Mag. Mareike Kerschbaum

Use the potential of digital technologies efficiently and master the challenges of change processes cooperatively: to quickly recognize new ideas and innovation, to decide strategically as well as mindfully and to implement new ideas consistently. This requires proper change skills and responsible leadership.

New, digital technologies are rapidly changing the needs of customers and existing market structures. To be innovative and competitive in dynamic times, companies and organizations do well to continually re-examine the paths of their development and change or leave them if necessary. This is an enormous challenge and at the same time offers a huge opportunity.

In the article Challenges of the digital transformation: perceive, shape or leave development paths?, opens a file in a new window (in German: Gestaltungsherausforderungen der digitalen Transformation: Pfade erkennen, gestalten oder verlassen?) the authors examine the causes of path-dependency that often leads to a slow development of innovation. To overcome these so-called “traps”, in which companies and organizations often find themselves, the authors describe two essential strategies: continuous change competence (ambidexterity) and digital leadership skills.

Leaders have the important role of enabling transformability at all levels and thereby becoming “masters of technological solutions and possibilities” themselves - Future managers need digital leadership skills.

Opportunity and challenge at the same time

Digitization is a huge opportunity for companies and organizations. New, digital technologies are among the main drivers for corporate change initiatives on processes, products and business models. The aim is to find new ways of adding value and positions in global markets.

Technology-driven change processes are not only technical, but also enormous cultural challenges. Changes break routines and existing values. This can cause uncertainty and lack of understanding among employees.

Examples such as Kodak and Polaroid show how difficult it can be to change or leave familiar paths. So to be competitive, how can companies and organizations recognize new technological opportunities and seize them to efficiently modify processes, products and business models?

Exemplifying digital leadership

With the theoretical perspective of organizational path dependency, the authors show the difficulties in coping with digital transformation and the possibilities for leaders to successfully design change processes.

To master the challenges of digital transformation, companies and organizations must learn to continually re-examine their assumptions and business practices in order to overcome path dependencies. This requires structures in which innovative ideas can grow and at the same time existing resources can be used efficiently. Future leaders have the essential role of exploring the potential of digital technologies, conveying them in a meaningful way and generating continuous acceptance for the development of new competencies: to exemplify digital leadership.

Continuing education pays off

To be well equipped for challenging times companies and organizations need to build up continuous change competence and digital leadership.

This is where our MBA Digital Transformation & Change Management comes in. In our blocked modules you strengthen your leadership personality and develop your specialist as well as strategic decision-making skills. With this you can recognize potentials and risks better and faster; make responsible decisions to address those aspects that are most promising; and consistently implement selected innovation initiatives. After the MBA, you will be able to seize digital opportunities and give employees orientation and confidence in difficult times.

This MBA will help you to:

  • analyze and assess the possibilities and challenges of digitization,
  • deal with uncertainty, fears and resistance in your team,
  • solve them mindfully and cooperatively as well
  • successfully design and support organizational change processes in the light of digital technologies.

Gestaltungsherausforderungen der digitalen Transformation: Pfade erkennen, gestalten oder verlassen?, opens a file in a new window

By Martin Gersch, Stefan Güldenberg, Wolfgang H. Güttel, Gordon Müller-Seitz, Birgit Renzl, Ann-Christine Schulz, in:

WiSt - Wirtschaftswissenschaftliches Studium, pp- 44 - 49

WIST, Jahrgang 49 (2020), Heft 2-3, ISSN print: 0340-1650, ISSN online: 0340-1650,, opens an external URL in a new window