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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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
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)102-129
Number of pages28
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Published online: 22 maj 2020.


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

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