University of Gothenburg
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Managing Digital Transformation

How can we handle the great transformation that will be the result of the latest trends in digitalisation? What reorganisations will take place within welfare in relation to newly mediated landscapes? How are innovative diversity measures across subsidiaries translated into multinational organizations? These are some of the issues studied in the research program Managing Digital Transformations.

Managing Digital Transformations is a program in tune with the main goal of Gothenburg Research Institute, that is, to produce transdisciplinary research within social sciences. It grew out of the previous one, called Organizing Action Nets. While OAN was grouping researchers that studied different phenomena using the same approach (which assumed that constructing action nets is the primary step in organizing and therefore must be studied), Managing Digital Transformations is a step toward selecting phenomena worth studying; the contemporary "matters of concern", as our STS colleagues call it.

Before listing those phenomena we selected, we need to state that Managing Digital Transformations, while a program in itself, functions also as a kind of umbrella program, as its foci of interest are shared with other programs, past, present and future at the Institute.

Here is our list of phenomena that are either new, or old but acquiring a new shape:

  • Digitalization. E-governments, e-commerce, e-health and great many others e-phenomena (including robotization) mean both revolutionizing existing organizational activities and introducing new ones. (Some examples of such changes is the spreading idea of open landscapes, even if it is still unclear whether or not it is a sustainable solution.)
  • Globalization. While it has been pointed by globalization scholars that its beginning can be traced back to the times of Marco Polo, todays travel and communication technologies give it a truly new meaning. Related to it is:
  • Medialization. While media were always important for the development of societies, its present ubiquity produces both an overflow of information and desperate attempts to limit it, leading to confusion about the truthfulness of the media. Related to it is:
  • Growing feeling of threat and ensuing changes in politics. While many sources present the contemporary world safer than ever before, there is no doubt of very concrete threats, which result, among other things, in increasing number of refugees. Related to it is the issue of:
  • Diversity. While there is a western template defining diversity, it is less known how this is globally translated and acted upon in both public and private sectors, and in companies acting on a global arena. This makes the question how are diversity ideas translated into policies, and these policies turned into practices, once again.

Within each of these areas we will study how organizations manage the ongoing and future transformations. For example: What should managers do in the face of the unspecified, but allegedly grand transformation that will result from the recent trends of digitalization? How will welfare be organized and managed in relation to newly medialized landscape? How are innovative diversity measures translated across subsidiaries of multinational organizations?