Same But Different: Variations in Reactions to Digital Transformation Within an Organizational Field

Mette Strange Noesgaard, Jeppe Agger Nielsen, Tina Blegind Jensen, Lars Mathiassen

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Researchers and practitioners are increasingly interested in understanding how organizations transform their value proposition and practices using digital technologies. While extant literature offers important empirical and theoretical insights into digital transformation in individual organizations, we know little about how adopting organizations within an organizational field react differently over time to the same digital transformation initiative. This is unfortunate, as such insights can help scholars and managers understand option repertoires and constraints in handling digital transformation ideas that travel into organizations. Against this backdrop, we had access to a unique case over an eighteen-year period, which shows how organizations within the Danish homecare field reacted differently to a nation-wide digital transformation initiative on mobile technology use. To analyze this case, we applied the Virus Theory as a promising perspective for examining how and why the same digital technology and transformation idea occasions different reactions in similar contexts. Our analysis highlights the emerging, fluctuating, and consequential nature of digital transformation within the Danish homecare field that led to very different reactions across the adopting organizations. Drawing on this analysis, we contribute to the expanding literature on digital transformation by providing theoretical and practical knowledge about variations in how organizations within an organizational field react over time to digital transformation ideas.
Original languageEnglish
Article number9
JournalJournal of the Association for Information Systems
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)12-34
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Digital transformation
  • Organizational field
  • Organizational reaction
  • Virus perspective
  • Longitudinal case study

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