Digital transformation in incumbent firms
On Thursday 23 September 2021 Karen Sæbbø Osmundsen will hold a trial lecture on a prescribed topic and defend her thesis for the PhD degree at NHH.
Prescribed topic for the trial lecture:
«Compare and contrast two different theoretical perspectives and methodological approaches to studying digital twins. How could research be conducted about how firms should manage digital twins? What is the role of ethnographic research in such a setting?»
14:15 at NHH AUD N / Zoom video conference
Title of the thesis:
«Gather your employees: Digital transformation in incumbent firms. Insights from the Norwegian grid sector»
Digital transformation is necessary for many incumbent firms to stay relevant and competitive in the digital era. Digital transformation is, however, challenging for incumbent firms because it requires a continuous balancing between established practices and new opportunities and typically implies a transformation of the entire workforce. Employees are subject to be heavily affected by the changes following the transformation and at the same time have the potential to deeply influence its direction and success. Against this backdrop, the overarching research question of this thesis is:
How should incumbent firms involve their employees in their digital transformation?
Building on insights from a two-year case study at an incumbent firm in the midst of a digital transformation (the Norwegian grid company GridCo), Osmundsen addresses different aspects of digital transformation in incumbent firms. She explores why and how incumbent firms could involve their employees in the digital transformation.
Article 1 (co-authored with Professor Jon Iden) addresses changes in competence requirements following digital transformation, and how incumbent firms could obtain relevant competences. Article 2 (with Professor Bendik Bygstad) argues for a continuous development approach to digitalization initiatives as part of the larger digital transformation, which emphasizes high levels of employee involvement and interactions between actors at different organizational levels. In article 3 (with Professors Christian Meske and Devinder Thapa) and 4 (with Meske and Professor Iris Junglas) Osmundsen explores a digitalization project concerned with developing a digital twin, which served as an important ingredient of GridCo s digital transformation. She addresses how employees understand such complex digital artifacts to eventually use them in their everyday workday and offers recommendations for practitioners on designing and developing digital twins within their contexts.
Osmundsen’s research contributes to the information systems field and academic conversation on digital transformation, as well as to practice, by delineating important aspects of digital transformation in incumbent firms, shedding light on the importance of employees in such transformations, and illustrating ways in which incumbent firms can involve their employees in their digital transformation. In addition, each individual article offers specific theoretical implications for information systems research and valuable insights for practitioners engaged in or planning to embark on a digital transformation.
16:15 NHH AUD N / Zoom video conference
Members of the evaluation committee:
Professor Inger G. Stensaker (leader), Department of strategy and management, NHH
Professor Ola Henfridsson, Miami Herbert Business School
Professor Jan Recker, University of Hamburg
Professor Jon Iden, Department of strategy and management, NHH
Professor Bendik Bygstad, Department of informatics (UiO) and Prof. II, Department of strategy and management, NHH
The trial lecture and thesis defence will be open to the public.