Digital Business Transformation Creates Hybrid Organizations with Ambidextrous Roles and Practices

Riitta Bekkhus

Tutkimustuotos: Doctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


Digital business transformation (or digital transformation for short) is defined as the use of digital technologies to radically improve a company's performance (Fitzgerald et al., 2013). However, at present, digital transformation is not well understood, and many traditional companies struggle to gain transformational effects from new digital technologies. To truly drive value through digital transformation is to implement a new, successful digital business model. To succeed, traditional companies must learn to keep their existing business model productive (exploitative behaviour) and simultaneously introduce innovative services, products and practices into the new digital business model (explorative behaviour). Managing both business models simultaneously requires that companies learn to re-organize (that is, hybrid organize) their current organizational practices and roles. Therefore, the main objective of this dissertation is to contribute to the accumulating body of knowledge on digital transformation by exploring the following dissertation-level research question: "How should companies re-organize themselves (that is, hybrid organize their roles, practices and behaviour) during the digital business transformation, in order to behave both exploitatively (to assure productivity of the existing business model) and exploratively (to further develop the new digital business model)?" The answer to the dissertation-level question was constructed from the main findings of the three publications included in this dissertation. The answer includes a three-phase process model, which guides how firms should hybrid organize their roles, practices and behaviour during the digital transformation. The other main contributions of this dissertation are: (1) the chain-reaction model of digital business transformation, which illustrates how the deployment of new digital technologies affects firms' business models and organizational structures; and (2) the new dualistic CIO toolbox, which Chief Information Officers and other managers can use to motivate their IT organizations to behave both exploitatively and exploratively (that is, ambidextrously). Additionally, this dissertation provides the following key predictions for the near future. Firstly, hybrid organizing is likely to become a key task for organizations soon after they begin the digital transformation. Secondly, firms will probably start to use new steering practices to create experimental ambidextrous organizational environments. Thirdly, the new digital employees (i.e. the software robots) will take over rule-based routines - forcing firms to re-tailor their traditional organizational roles and working practices. To summarize, this dissertation helps to understand how digital transformation affects firms' business models, organizational structures and practices, as well as how hybrid organizing helps firms to succeed in their digital transformations.
Myöntävä instituutio
  • Aalto-yliopisto
  • Rossi, Matti, Ohjaaja
  • Hallikainen, Petri, Ohjaaja
Painoksen ISBN978-952-60-7677-5
Sähköinen ISBN978-952-60-7700-0
TilaJulkaistu - 2017
OKM-julkaisutyyppiG5 Artikkeliväitöskirja


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