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The oxymoron of digitalisation - A study of critical factors
University of Gävle, Faculty of Education and Business Studies, Department of Business and Economic Studies, Business administration.
University of Gävle, Faculty of Education and Business Studies, Department of Business and Economic Studies, Business administration.
2018 (English)In: Proceedings of the 32nd International Business Information Management Association Conference, IBIMA 2018 - Vision 2020: Sustainable Economic Development and Application of Innovation Management from Regional expansion to Global Growth / [ed] Soliman K. S., International Business Information Management Association (IBIMA), 2018, Vol. -, p. 4428-4430Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Research question and objectiveThe exploratory nature of this study is guided by the following research question: How do Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in Gävleborg County perceive the prerequisites and critical factors of digitalisation. Thus, this paper aims to map SME´s digital maturity and their views on how to manage the opportunities and challenges brought about by digitalisation in order to foster their competitiveness in local, regional, national and international contexts. This research does not conceptualise digitalisation as merely a technology issue - as most commonly envisaged. Digitalisation is about something else; it is an approach and a capability to create and make available values by means of existing technology in a global, but the capability to exploit its benefit and manage its challenges varies on a national and sectorial basis. That is to say, the capability of utilising gathered data for something more than just reducing production costs. Thus, the basic tenet upon which this paper rests is a recognition that digitalisation is an oxymoron. This is due largely to the fact that as long as its development is based on technology that is equally available all over the world, but simultaneously hampered by the capability to utilize it, might from a Swedish perspective be viewed as a threat, but it is also regarded as a great opportunity. Theoretical lens for this paper builds on triadic as an interactive learning process, and happens in the interaction between actors as open innovation postulates (Chesbrough, 2003; Chesbrough et al., 2006; Fagerberg, 1995; Van de Ven et al., 1999; Waluszewski, Baraldi, Linné & Shih, 2009) and that innovation is born out of reshuffling resources inside and outside of the firm and considers the mutual value creation between those involved. This triadic logic is based on the assumption that the methods of strategy and its central questions follow from the definition that business strategy is concerned with the match between the internal capabilities of the company and its external environment (Hunt and Lambe, 2000; Chandler, 1962; Hamel and Prahalad, 1989). Consequently this paper draws on resource-based perspective which views the firm as a unique bundle of assets and resources that, if utilised in distinctive ways, can create competitive advantage (Barney, 1991 & 1995; Conner, 1991; Peteraf, 1993). Thus, key resources determine competitive advantage of firm that the firm is endowed with. According to Conner (1991) and Barney (1999), a resource with the potential to gain competitive advantage must exhibit VRIN attributes: Valuable, Rare, Imperfectly imitable and Non-substitutable. These attributes are at parity with Dynamic capability perspective that depicts the firm's ability to integrate, build, and reconfigure internal and external competences to address rapidly changing environments (Teece, Pisano and Shuen, 1997). Dynamic capabilities can be distinguished from operational capabilities, which pertain to the current operations of an organization. Dynamic capabilities, by contrast, refer to “the capacity of an organization to purposefully create, extend, or modify its resource base” (Helfat et al., 2007).

MethodologyTo tackle the overarching research question that this study aims to answer - how the unit of analysis and unit of enquiry perceive the prerequisites and critical factors of digitalisation - qualitative approach was deemed most appropriate. It will facilitate deeper understanding of the actors' interactions, sentiments and behaviours occurring during the research process (Borghini et al. 2010). To achieve this, in-depth interviews were conducted at the premises of the companies and University of Gävle with highly knowledgeable informants who viewed the transformation process from strategic and business perspectives (Eisenhardt and Graebner, 2007). Material for the case studies was both retrospective and real-time, as the investigated were ongoing during the time data collection took place. However, these face-to-face interviews enable us to ask follow-up and clarify questions and to record non-verbal clues. Moreover, experience experience-based seminars and workshops on how SMEs will be able to manage critical factors, thereby creating competitive values in the business processes, with digitalisation as a starting point. They will furthermore be able to create an understanding of how and what it is that creates competitiveness in each critical factor. The transcribed interviews were analysed by delineating keywords from the data collected. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
International Business Information Management Association (IBIMA), 2018. Vol. -, p. 4428-4430
Keywords [en]
Competition, Enterprise resource management, Information management, Learning systems, Sustainable development, Competitive advantage, Dynamic capability perspective, External environments, Face-to-face interview, Interactive learning, Operational capabilities, Small and medium-sized enterprise, Transformation process, Industrial management
National Category
Economics and Business
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-30595Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85063035325ISBN: 9780999855119 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-30595DiVA, id: diva2:1346374
Conference
32nd International Business Information Management Association Conference, IBIMA 2018, 15-16 November 2018, Seville, Spain
Available from: 2019-08-27 Created: 2019-08-27 Last updated: 2019-08-27Bibliographically approved

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Osarenkhoe, AihieFjellström, Daniella

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