The development and validation of a digital leadership competency scale

Mervin Munsamy, Nelesh Dhanpat, Emmerentia N. Barkhuizen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Orientation: The advent of the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) and its digital disruptions require new competencies from leaders to ensure the sustainability and competitiveness of business enterprises. Purpose of the study: The purpose of the study was to develop and validate a scale to measure the digital leadership competencies that will enable employees to remain relevant. Motivation for the study: Despite a proliferation of empirical studies on 4IR and its impact on leadership, validated assessments of leadership competencies for the digital age are scarce. Research approach, design and method: A quantitative research approach was followed with data collected from employees (N = 241) from a multinational company in the technology and engineering industry. A newly developed digital leadership competency questionnaire was distributed electronically to the respondents. The data was analysed using the SPSS and AMOS programmes. The data analyses included descriptive statistics, confirmatory factor analyses and reliability analyses. Main findings: The results confirmed and supported a valid and reliable six-dimensional leadership competence assessment supported by sub-competencies. The six competences include embracing digital, leadership facilitating the digital drive, digital adaptiveness and resilience, cultivating a digital culture and digital skills and digital competitiveness intelligence. Practical/managerial implications: The digital leadership competency scale can be used to assess and develop employee competencies, which will positively affect business performance. Contribution/value-add: The study provides a holistic digital leadership competency framework that encompasses generational theory as well as levels of work theory.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbera1057
JournalActa Commercii
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Digital competency framework
  • Digital leadership
  • Digital leadership competency scale
  • Fourth industrial revolution
  • Leadership competence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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