Modernizing Creative Work: How organizations in the creative industries can support knowledge workers to develop the skills they need

Mirjam M. Koehorst

Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT

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The Dutch creative industries (CIs) are a knowledge intensive sector in which many highly educated professionals are employed. Next to subject specific knowledge and skills, the jobs they perform demand a high level of cognitive skills like communication, critical thinking and creativity. Furthermore, skills related to the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) and the internet have increased in significance in recent decades.
21st-Century digital skills combine cognitive skills like information management, communication, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, and problem solving with a digital component. These skills are crucial in ICT-intensive work environments. Despite the importance of the combination of cognitive and digital skills, especially in an innovative sector like the CIs, there is little awareness with regards to these skills. This complicates the efficient development of such skills, which will positively influence job performance.

This dissertation explores what organizations can do to support the development of 21st-century digital skills among their employees in the Dutch CIs. To achieve this goal, a multi-method approach was taken. By performing a systematic literature review, an overview of the current status of academic literature into organizational factors that influence skills is obtained. Based on these findings a survey was conducted to study the level of 21st-century digital skills among professionals working in organizations in the CIs. In the same survey, it was studied which organizational factors found in the systematic literature review influence these skills. Thereafter, an explorative round of interviews was used to interview managers and leaders to discuss the previous results, and gain insight into the current development opportunities in these organizations. These findings are used to compile recommendations regarding the development of 21st-century digital skills among employees in the creative industries.
Despite the fact that the importance of 21st-century digital skills was directly and indirectly endorsed by participants, many of them struggle to see digital skills as an integrated component of cognitive skills. Therefore, it is challenging for organizations to focus on the development of 21st-century digital skills. The findings presented in this dissertation can help in writing directed and effective policy.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Twente
  • van Deursen, Alexander J.A.M., Supervisor
  • van Dijk, Jan A.G.M., Supervisor
  • de Haan, Jos, Co-Supervisor, External person
Award date11 Dec 2020
Print ISBNs978-90-365-5089-5
Electronic ISBNs978-90-365-5089-5
Publication statusPublished - 11 Dec 2020


  • 21st-century skills
  • 21st-century digital skills
  • Knowledge work
  • Creative industries
  • Organizational factors
  • Employee development


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