A Systematic Literature Review of Organizational Factors Influencing 21st-Century Skills

Mirjam M. Koehorst*, Alexander J.A.M. van Deursen, Jan A.G.M. van Dijk, Jos de Haan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
177 Downloads (Pure)


Skills, such as critical thinking, creativity, communication, problem solving, collaboration, operational skills, and information management, have become increasingly important for 21st-century employees. These skills are often referred to as 21st-century skills and influence how employees handle novel situations. They are indispensable in an economy where the knowledge and skills of employees are seen as a measure for economic potential. This systematic literature review summarizes the current academic knowledge about organizational factors that influence 21st-century skills on an individual level. A search was performed in three databases. The factors found can be sub-divided into three main categories, namely leader characteristics, job characteristics, and organizational characteristics. Transformational leadership was the factor most mentioned in the literature found. Most research found during the search was done on the level of organizational output, exposing a clear gap concerning organizational factors that influence the skill-level of individual employees. These findings can have substantive implications when looking to improve employee skills by altering organizational determinants, by enabling targeted actions to improve these skills for the individual employee.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSAGE Open
Issue number4
Early online date1 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Higher order thinking skills
  • 21st-century skills
  • Organizational factors
  • Employee skills
  • UT-Hybrid-D


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