Dr Inga Knoche looked at how certain German companies can adjust to the changing world of digital technology as part of her studies. Now, after four years, she is graduating with a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) degree.
“It is a feeling that fills me with pride to have successfully completed this journey,” said Inga, who lives in Germany and did distance learning. “What I have learnt about myself, what I can accomplish, will stay for the rest of my life.
The Professional Doctorate award is run in collaboration with the Fachhochschule des Mittelstandes in Bielefeld, Germany. The programme in Worcester was brought to Inga’s attention by a friend who was a professor at the partner university in Germany.
“I met only friendly, very helpful and supportive people at all times during the course,” she said. “What delighted me the most was that despite the physical distance (I did the DBA part-time and I am based in Germany), there was an incredible human closeness, especially with my supervisors, who were fantastic in supporting me on my journey.”
Inga researched the digital transformation in the German Mittelstand (a group of stable small and medium-sized business enterprises in Germany that are run by their owners). In particular, she looked at the impact of digital transformation on the future and what skills and abilities people will need to bring with them or acquire in this rapidly changing world of work. As a result of her findings, she developed a strategic human resource management model to understand the different elements that influence how competent someone will prove in this digital transformation. This should allow management to take advance measures to improve workers’ skills and knowledge in these key German companies.
Inga said of her findings: “Cognitive, emotional and social competence are of particular importance for the expected future development of the digital transformation. The willingness to actively help shape a changed working world of the future and to find one's way in it is in turn very closely linked to personality traits such as openness or curiosity.
“The imparting of technical or methodological knowledge will therefore recede into the background in the future, which is why the design of the work situation will gain in importance for the promotion of future key competencies. I have developed a model that shifts the perspective to the employees that also provides a comprehensive framework and recommendations for leadership in corporate practice to help transform an organisation.”
Inga told how her father had sadly passed away during her studies. “I never had to promise my father that I would complete this big project - my DBA - he never had any doubt about that,” she added. “I took this trust he had in me to fight my way back from deep grief and to give structure to my everyday life by throwing myself fully into its completion. Even though my dad could no longer be alive to see it, he is always with me and I am happy that my mum can be there and that we can celebrate this achievement together with my other loved ones.”
Since completing her DBA, Inga, who continues to work at a digital strategy consultancy, has been leading the digital business competencies unit, which develops business advisory services and implements them in companies.
The University’s annual autumn Graduation Ceremonies will take place as planned from September 12-14 in the beautiful and historic Worcester Cathedral followed by celebration receptions at the City Campus. No Worcester graduates have been affected by the marking and assessment boycott.
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