Unpacking the Difference between Digital Transformation and IT-enabled Organizational Transformation

Lauri Kristian Wessel*, Abayomi Baiyere, Roxana Ologeanu-Taddei, Jonghyuk Cha, Tina Blegind Jensen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

While digital transformation offers a number of opportunities for today's organizations, information systems scholars and practitioners struggle to grasp what digital transformation really is, particularly how it differs from the well-established concept of information technology (IT)-enabled organizational transformation. By integrating literature from organization science and information systems research with two longitudinal case studies-one on digital transformation, the other on IT-enabled organizational transformation-we develop an empirically grounded conceptualization that sets these two phenomena apart. We find that there are two distinctive differences: (a) digital transformation activities leverage digital technology in (re)defining an organization's value proposition, while IT-enabled organizational transformation activities leverage digital technology in supporting the value proposition and (b) digital transformation involves a new organizational identity compared with IT-enabled organizational transformation that enhances an existing organizational identity. We synthesize these arguments in a process model to distinguish the different types of transformations and propose directions for future research.
Original languageEnglish
Article number6
JournalJournal of the Association for Information Systems
Volume22
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)102-129
Number of pages28
ISSN1536-9323
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Published online: 22 maj 2020.

Keywords

  • Digital transformation
  • IT-enabled organisational transformation
  • Organizational identity
  • Value proposition
  • Imposition
  • Reconciliation
  • Digital technology
  • Process model

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