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Can traditional organizations be digitally transformed by themselves? The moderating role of absorptive capacity and strategic interdependence

Evangelia Siachou, Demetris Vrontis and Eleni Trichina

Journal of Business Research, 2021, vol. 124, issue C, 408-421

Abstract: Although digital transformation has significantly attracted scholarly attention beyond information systems, little is known whether traditional organizations can be digitally transformed alone. Knowledge of this process is important as traditional organizations risk failing to achieve digital transformation due to their lack of understanding about digitalization. This research proposes a conceptual framework, which approaches the digital transformation of traditional organizations as a coordinated sequence of specific relationships. The research propositions first outline the relationship between alliance knowledge and digital transformation as a necessary but not absolute condition for the digitalization of traditional conditions. Effectively, therefore, the constructs of absorptive capacity and strategic interdependence are considered to be boundary conditions to this relationship. Insights are also provided into traditional organizations’ levels of absorptive capacity (high vs. low) as well as into the levels of interdependence between them and their partners (symmetry vs. asymmetry), which both determine the outcomes of digital transformation. Concurring with these propositions, this framework advances our understanding of why traditional organizations struggle to be digitally transformed alone and provides implications for both theory and practice.

Keywords: Knowledge acquisition; Absorptive capacity; Strategic interdependence; Digital transformation; Traditional organizations (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jbusres.2020.11.011

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