While digital transformation as a research phenomenon per se gains acceptance in both practice and academia, its precise conceptualization and theoretical underpinnings are discussed. To address these gaps, we propose a critical realist view on Digital Transformation. Building on a literature review on generative mechanisms in digital transformation studies, we show how the concept of generative mechanisms is used and what types of generative mechanisms are adopted. Based on our findings, we propose a research agenda that encourages further studies on digital transformation, taking a critical realist stance. Thus, we put forward ways of applying critical realism to digital transformation studies and show how critical realism can advance research through its ability for multi-level analysis and its unique understanding of change and transformation.
Thomas Haskamp, Christian Dremel, Falk Uebernickel
9 Aug 2021