Digital Inequality

research on skills, uses, and outcomes of Internet technology



From digital skills to tangible outcomes
Skils uses outcomes238x194

21st-century Digital Skills

Social Context of Digital Inequality


Loss of labor time due to Skill insufficiencies and malfunctioning ICT

Van Deursen, A. & Van Dijk, J. (2014). Loss of labor time due to Skill insufficiencies and malfunctioning ICT. International Journal of Manpower, 35(5), 703-719.


This article is about an unexplored area of information and communication technology (ICT) use in organizations related to the assumed productivity gains by the use of ICTs. On the one hand, we focus on the losses of labor time that are caused by malfunctioning hardware or non-functional software, and on the other hand, we focus on the labor time losses that are caused by a lack of skills to maximize ICT. To estimate these losses, we conducted a large-scale survey among the Dutch workforce. The respondents were presented scenarios, and then they were asked to assess the loss of labor time. When working with ICTs, malfunctions and skill insufficiencies lead to a loss in labor time of 7.5%. Organizations should account for these losses when calculating ICT expenditures of hardware, software, energy and support. The losses increase with decreasing educational attainment level. However, age does not contribute to the total average losses. In addressing experienced problems, the role of co-workers is more significant than the formally organized means by the organization. In addition, workers highly underestimate the effects of ICT-related training. The results indicate that organizations do not realize that higher levels of productivity gains are attainable.