Rethinking the corporate digital divide: The complementarity of technologies and the demand for digital skills
In this paper, we rethink the corporate digital divide, a phenomenon not studied in detail in prior research. Motivated by innovation-diffusion, competence-based and skill-biased technical change theories, we hypothesize that all digital technologies’ innovations must be supported by demand for related skills and should be integrated into an innovation cycle. This research is conducted using a vast dataset of 1000 large Russian firms observed over ten years, with information collected from open internet-based sources and processed through content analysis. Among the key findings, the digital-innovation cycle has been explored and visualized, by identifying the most probable period of these innovations and their further diffusion. The digital-divide concept has been explicated by examining data on the relative dynamics of digital skills demanded by the same companies during the period of investigation. The empirical results deliver an interesting insight and encourage us to rethink the corporate digital divide through causality between competency accumulation and digital technological shifts. That, in turn, identifies the conditions necessary for the prediction of demand shocks in relation to digital competencies in labor markets.