Emergence and evolution of digital transformation: A morphogenetic approach

Mylène Struijk, Spyros Angelopoulos , Carol Ou

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperScientificpeer-review


Digital transformation (DT) endeavors present high levels of failure due to their complexity, bringing to the fore the importance of better understanding how they emerge and unfold over time. To address that lacuna, we adopt a morphogenetic approach (MA) and draw upon institutional theory, as well as ten years of organizational documents and 60 interviews with employees of a multinational military organization. We uncover an emergent digital logic, which enables grasping organizational reality, pressures, appropriate behavior, and success in the digital age. Moreover, we identify four morphogenetic cycles, revealing that DT revolves around responses to institutional complexity that are dependent on interactions amongst culture, structure, and agency. We demonstrate that DT is shaped by dynamic organizational responses to institutional complexity as the digital logic emerges. Importantly, we show that the DT endeavor is initiated unconsciously before the organization starts making conscious, structural DT changes. Finally, we contribute to opening the black box of agency in dealing with institutional complexity and DT endeavors. Specifically, we identify different strategies over time that proponents of the emerging logic adopt to push the organization towards the new logic.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022
EventAcademy of Management 2022 -
Duration: 5 Aug 20229 Aug 2022


ConferenceAcademy of Management 2022


Dive into the research topics of 'Emergence and evolution of digital transformation: A morphogenetic approach'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this