Table of Contents

Research Handbook on Digital Transformations

Research Handbook on Digital Transformations

Research Handbooks in Business and Management series

Edited by F. Xavier Olleros and Majlinda Zhegu

The digital transition of our economies is now entering a phase of broad and deep societal impact. While there is one overall transition, there are many different sectoral transformations, from health and legal services to tax reports and taxi rides, as well as a rising number of transversal trends and policy issues, from widespread precarious employment and privacy concerns to market monopoly and cybercrime. They all are fertile ground for researchers, as established laws and regulations, organizational structures, business models, value networks and workflow routines are contested and displaced by newer alternatives. This Research Handbook offers a rich and interdisciplinary synthesis of some of the current thinking on the digital transformations underway.

Digital transformations: an introduction

F. Xavier Olleros and Majlinda Zhegu

Subjects: business and management, knowledge management, innovation and technology, innovation policy, knowledge management, technology and ict


Industrialized economies and societies have changed considerably in the last hundred years and they will likely change even more in the next hundred (Palacios-Huerta, 2013), but not because our planet or its inhabitants have radically morphed. What is rapidly changing – indeed improving, despite countless blunders – is our understanding and mastery of nature, including human nature (Ridley, 2011; Pinker, 2014). This is giving us a much better set of technological, institutional and cultural ‘toolboxes’ with which to enhance our common prospect and potential (Ogle, 2007; Arthur, 2009; Kelly, 2010; Henrich, 2015). Today, all around us there are signs that we are entering an era of unprecedented technological and societal change. Online auctions, crowdsourced encyclopedias, open source software and peer-to-peer sharing of music files were early heralds of a new way of organizing human interactions. More recently, scores of fertile new ideas have moved swiftly from futuristic dream to solid reality: think, for example, of Google Earth, free video calls, autonomous vehicles, smart contracts, multi-million-dollar crowdfunding campaigns, wireless 3D scanning of objects, 3D printing of customized human body parts, immersive virtual worlds and augmented reality. At the center of each of these new affordances and alluring possibilities sits a small but vibrant set of digital technologies: microprocessors, sensors, Internet networking, data storage and algorithms. Together, they allow us to datafy and digitize the world.