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


Skills, such as critical thinking, creativity, communication, problem
solving, collaboration 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 21stcentury 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
Publication statusSubmitted - 2020


  • higher order thinking skills
  • 21st-century skills
  • organizational factors
  • employee skills

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