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Leading digital transformation: three emerging approaches for managing the transition

Feng Li (Cass Business School, City, University of London, London, UK)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Article publication date: 23 July 2020

Issue publication date: 21 September 2020

8626

Abstract

Purpose

This study identifies three emerging approaches for leading successful digital transformation. It challenges the validity and effectiveness of traditional linear processes for digital transformation that first develop a new strategy, business model or organizational design enabled by digital technologies and then execute it according to the plan.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on current research with a group of global digital champions at the forefront of digital transformation, including Amazon, Alibaba, Baidu, Google, JD.com, Uber, VMWare and Slack.

Findings

The research finds that at least three new approaches are emerging in leading organizations, which are (1) innovating by experimenting, (2) radical transformation via successive incremental changes and (3) dynamic sustainable advantages through an evolving portfolio of temporary advantages.

Research limitations/implications

More research is needed to systematically investigate such emerging approaches and develop new theories and new analytical frameworks.

Practical implications

These emerging approaches can be used to guide digital transformation initiatives.

Social implications

They also enable business leaders to tackle grand societal challenges using financially sustainable and scalable operational models, generating profit and impact at the same time.

Originality/value

It challenges traditional linear approaches for leading digital transformation and highlights the need for new and iterative approaches for bridging the strategy–execution gap in the volatile digital economy.

Keywords

Citation

Li, F. (2020), "Leading digital transformation: three emerging approaches for managing the transition", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 40 No. 6, pp. 809-817. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJOPM-04-2020-0202

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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