T-shaped Capabilities of the next Generation: Prospecting for an Improved Model


  • Juha Saukkonen JAMK University of Applied Sciences
  • Pia Kreus JAMK University of Applied Sciences




capability, interprofessional, skills, interaction, composability, knowledge sharing


Modern companies are in constant search of ways to improve the integration of the various departments and business processes into a coherent entity. Changes made to the organizational structure and deployment of common company-wide ICT solutions such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and cloud infrastructure are some means that enable better internal collaboration and transparency, compared to siloed structures and modes of operating. However, infrastructural or management system changes cannot foster a holistic view, and collaboration between different parts of the organization is not possible if the stakeholders in company processes do not possess capability profiles that match the need. Human Resource Management (HRM) and knowledge management (KM) research has introduced and elaborated on the concept of T-shaped capabilities as an answer to the needs of a modern knowledge-era employee. A T-shaped capability profile is highlighting the need of employees (and managers alike) to build broad combinatory capabilities (the horizontal line on the top of the letter T) between the firm´s processes in addition to their specific expertise in one area (the vertical line in the letter T - so-called I-shape capability). Our paper introduces a prospective evolutionary step to T-shaped capabilities that we call the T2 capability model. The model adds another horizontal layer to the model. This layer is made of generic i.e., not industry- or firm-specific capabilities, as imposed by megatrends and mindsets needed across all areas of economic activity. Examples of such generic capabilities are sustainability and ethics as well as financial and technical literacies. The second horizontal line consists of the firm´s business processes such as sales and marketing, supply chain, research, and development, etc. We will also introduce some practices on how T2-shaped capabilities could be fostered in education and the company- and industry-level actions.