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Future Mobility – Digital Transformation of Automotive Companies as a Question of Organizational Identity

Angela Graf (Bavarian Research Institute for Digital Transformation, Germany)
Thomas Hess (Institute for Digital Management and New Media, LMU Munich, Germany)
Lea Müller (Bavarian Research Institute for Digital Transformation, Germany)
Fabian Zimmer (Bavarian Research Institut for Digital Transformation, Germany)


Talking about smart cities also entails talking about new ways of mobility. Various concepts compete for reimagining future mobility, most prominently connected cars, robo taxis, and other forms of shared mobility. New digital technologies, changing customer requirements, but also new competitors are dynamically affecting previous market logics. To stay future-proof in this new world of mobility, the automotive sector, which is an important nucleus for developing such mobility solutions, is currently undergoing fundamental digital transformation processes. Established car manufacturers have to find their path to choose out of the many possibilities on the rise. Against this backdrop, they face the major challenge to find an answer to the question: Who are we and who do we want to be in the future? Therefore, we argue that organizations’ digital transformation is highly entangled with questions on organizational identity and discuss digital transformation as a potential identity threat for established organizations.

We begin this chapter by introducing the concept of organizational identity. Afterward, we will continue with applying it to the practical context of car manufacturers: After depicting the major trends of digitalization in the mobility and automotive sector, we will focus on the digital transformation processes of established automotive companies and discuss their impact on organizational identity. Empirical illustrations of the Volkswagen case depict our theoretical considerations.

We provide theoretical ideas for better understanding the impact of digital transformation on organizational identity, as well as suggestions for practitioners concerned with organizations’ digital transformation processes.



Graf, A., Hess, T., Müller, L. and Zimmer, F. (2023), "Future Mobility – Digital Transformation of Automotive Companies as a Question of Organizational Identity", Lytras, M.D., Housawi, A.A. and Alsaywid, B.S. (Ed.) Smart Cities and Digital Transformation: Empowering Communities, Limitless Innovation, Sustainable Development and the Next Generation, Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 129-158.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023 Angela Graf, Thomas Hess, Lea Müller and Fabian Zimmer