BIS Seminar: Assistant Professor Robert Wayne Gregory
The Digital Transformation of Organizational Deep Structure (Working title of a submission currently being prepared for MISQ)
The strategic role of IT has evolved from an enabler of business strategy, agility, and innovation to the epicenter of organizational transformation. Before, IT and structure followed strategy whereas today we witness that structure and strategy follows IT. So far, the emergence of new organizing forms has been studied primarily in the context of the Benklerian digital economy. Little is known, however, about how Chandlerian large firms evolve and transform as they increasingly interface with the Benklerian world. In this study we set out to investigate the following research question: How does an incumbent firm get transformed as it embarks on a digital business strategy and what strategic role does IT play in bringing about and/or enabling such transformation? We used the grounded theory method to analyze a revelatory case of digital business strategy and transformation at a large incumbent banking organization in Asia, AsiaBank. We identified three key mechanisms that explain how the new epicenter role of IT gets established inside an incumbent firm as well as three key mechanisms explaining the organizational change process that interact with these digitalization mechanisms. Furthermore, we uncover how the interplay between organizational change and digitalization shapes and is shaped by an organization-wide digital mindset. Contingent upon the development of this digital mindset and how well organizational tensions are resolved that arise when an incumbent firm starts interfacing with the digital environment, our explanatory mid-range theory also predicts that the outcome of the digital transformation of organizational deep structure is a meeting point between a Chandlerian deep structure and a Benklerian open structure. Our mid-range theory has important implications for research on digital business strategy and IT-enabled organizational transformation. For practitioners, we offer valuable insights into the process of how to manage the digital transformation.
Robert W. Gregory serves as Assistant Professor in the Information Systems Department at the Barcelona campus of IESE Business School since September 2013 and is currently going up for Associate Professor. He holds a combined Bachelor's and Master's degree (Diploma) in Management Information Systems from the University of Cologne, a Master's degree in International Management from the Community of European Management Schools and a PhD in Business Administration (especially Information Systems) from Goethe University Frankfurt. He received the Early Career Award from the global Association for Information Systems in 2016. Previously, he received the Alcatel-Lucent dissertation award in 2011. He has also been awarded several best paper awards. Robert has focused his career on exploring novel yet poorly understood phenomena related to Information Systems. Currently, his main area of interest is the intersection between Digital Innovation and Organizational Transformation. Robert works on these and other topics through engaged scholarship and collaborative researcher-practitioner relationships in a variety of business domains and sectors in which the impact of new digital technology is potentially disruptive. Robert's research has appeared in Management Information Systems Quarterly, Information Systems Research, European Journal of Information Systems, IT & People, and other journals.