Original Research

Leaders’ views on leadership and skills development in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Claude-Hélène Mayer
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 50 | a2172 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v50i0.2172 | © 2024 Claude-Hélène Mayer | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 December 2023 | Published: 08 May 2024

About the author(s)

Claude-Hélène Mayer, Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, Faculty of Business, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa


Orientation: The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is increasingly becoming a reality in organisations worldwide.

Research purpose: The aim of this article was to explore the views of international leaders on leadership and skills development in employees to equip them for the 4IR.

Motivation for the study: Leaders have to adjust their perspectives and leadership while the entire workforce is required to focus on their skills development on technological, individual and interpersonal levels.

Research approach/design and method: A qualitative research methodology is applied, using a phenomenological paradigm. Eight top leaders from Australia, India, Germany, South Africa, North America, the United Arab Emirates, and Singapore in various global and organisational fields were interviewed on leadership and skills development in the 4IR.

Main findings: Leaders focus on understanding and applying new technological trends, adopting a 4IR mindset, and developing skills through training and integrating systems. Additionally, they believe that skills development needs to include hard and soft skills, continuous training, and anticipating future trends. Skills need to have individual, interpersonal, organisational, societal and spiritual aspects to address the 4IR complexities adequately.

Practical/managerial implications: Leaders need to understand the complexes of the 4IR and need to train and support employees to develop themselves and their skills adequately.

Contribution/value-add: This article adds to the research on skill development, training and understanding future work trends to prepare leaders, industry and employees for future work trends and requirements for education for future work places.


Fourth Industrial Revolution; global leaders; leadership; skills; talent; organisation

JEL Codes

A10: General; A13: Relation of Economics to Social Values; A19: Other

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 8: Decent work and economic growth


Total abstract views: 850
Total article views: 486

Crossref Citations

No related citations found.