Implementation of technology could exacerbate the existing South African unemployment problem. This study aimed to assess the readiness of firms for the mitigation of these job losses, specifically amongst knowledge workers. Awareness of technological change and mitigation activity within firms was explored and responsibility levels for job loss mitigation between government, firms and civil society was queried. The application of the complexity leadership theory framework (CLT), to navigate the changing technological environment was investigated.
A qualitative study using semi-structured in-depth interviews was conducted with 23 senior executives from 22 different sized firms in 10 industries.
The results indicated a high level of awareness, but insufficient unemployment mitigation activities. Shared responsibility between government and firms, with support from civil society is recommended. Individual responsibility is crucial. The CLT framework is usable, but in conjunction with other leadership models, with a strong added focus on culture, transparency and technical knowledge.
The research is an in-depth look at the status of technological unemployment in South African companies in 2018, creating awareness for leadership, providing a toolkit to manage and overcome challenges. Limitations include a dominance of financial and tech companies in the sample and limited application of the research outside of South Africa.
Mini Dissertation (MBA)--University of Pretoria, 2019.