Purpose: The main aim of the study is the analysis of the awareness of competency needs in businesses in relation to the development of Industry 4.0 and the possibility of meeting those needs within business cooperation networks.
Methodology: We formed a model of competency needs for companies operating as part of Industry 4.0 in Poland, considering the needs of managers and other staff members. The model was then employed in empirical studies. The pilot empirical study was conducted using two methods: a quantitative CAWI method, which covered 81 companies from the metal processing and machine industry in Podlaskie Voivodship, and a qualitative IDI on a sample of 25 organizations.
Findings: Manufacturing companies are not fully aware of the competency needs related to Industry 4.0, covered by the established model. Moreover, we found that the most strongly felt competency needs – both by managers and other employees – may not be met within the business cooperation network. In order to satisfy these needs, partners must be found outside the studied network. The business cooperation network that we studied may only satisfy the less noticeable competency needs.
Implications: The developed competency model should be studied and further verified, including testing with a larger sample of companies, specifying the behavioral competency gaps related to Industry 4.0, their filling in using formal education systems, lifelong education, internships, and apprenticeships. The need for further research is dictated by the intensity of processes occurring within the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Value: The pilot nature of the study and its limited sample do not undermine its contribution to the body of knowledge as it confirms that the competencies of managers and other staff members are one of the key determinants of successful implementation of the Industry 4.0 concept in Poland.