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Digital Technologies and Open Strategy

Project brief

Advancement in digital technologies are creating new challenges and possibilities for strategy-making and implementation particularly. In the one hand, the volume of information available for decision making is upending longstanding theories of managerial cognition and action that do not focus on conditions of information overload (Van Knippenberg et al., 2015). In the other hand, new technologies such as Big data provide new opportunities for tackling management problems (George et al., 2014). The new social media technologies and the rise of interdependent ecosystems all favour more transparent and inclusive approaches to strategy (Whittington et al., 2011). However, the current understanding of the actual potential of digital technology on strategic management, for example, by enabling open and inclusive strategy formulation approaches (Hautz et al., 2017), only scratches the surface. To be able to realize the full potential of digital technologies, we need to gain further insights about several key issues:

  • How can digital technologies enhance the effectiveness of firms’ strategy making process and subsequent strategy implementation?
  • Who should be the strategists in a digital world? While technological advancement make it possible to engage in participative strategy-making (Birkinshaw, 2016; Collier, Fishwick, and Floyd, 2004; Haefliger, Monteiro, Foray, and von Krogh, G. 2011; Newstead and Lanzerotti, 2010; Stieger, Matzler, Chatterjee, and Ladstaetter-Fussenegger, 2012.), when should strategy-making remain in the realm of upper-echelons and when should it be open?
  • What are the implications for power balance in organizations between upper echelons and lower organizational levels when employing digital technology in strategy-making and implementation?
  • How can we motivate organizational actors at different organizational level to engage with the digital infrastructure? As existing research indicates that the effectiveness of technology depends on more than technical issues (Denyer, Parry, and Flowers, 2011), further research should provide insight in the critical issues surrounding different organizational actors’ willingness to use and base decisions on digital technology.