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Digital transformation: incorporating social and human extensions into change models

Ziadeh, N. A. (2019) Digital transformation: incorporating social and human extensions into change models. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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To link to this item DOI: 10.48683/1926.00089044


This study is about incorporating social and human dimensions of the organisation into change models to support technology enabled change, also known as digital transformation. Organisations often manifest change through projects. Despite utilizing change models and frameworks, the rate of failure remains as high as 80%, leading to estimated financial losses of $900B USD a year, in addition to non-financial losses such as opportunity cost, change fatigue, loss of confidence and poor morale. Studies show that the majority of the root causes of failure are non-technical; yet change models and frameworks focus on the technical aspects, providing little guidance to the non-technical aspects (i.e. social and human). This study explores this omission with the aim of developing extensions to improve the success rate of organisational change. The context of the study is two multi-national organisations undergoing digital transformation: a telecommunication provider and a financial institution. The researcher, by virtue of his role as digital transformation leader, is embedded in both organisations which facilitates a deeper understanding of the change context and more informed interpretation of observations and data. Action Research principles support the researcher’s dual role and provide rigor and validity. The study uses Mixed Methods to collect data: two focus-groups sessions with 14 to 20 participants in each and 11 semi-structured interviews with change leaders. The researcher recognizes the ethical implications and tensions associated with Action Research, and maintains vigilance and balance throughout. The study outcomes represent proposed extensions to change models and are model agnostic. They include language, definitions of ‘social’ and ‘human’ aspects of organisational change, themes supporting social and human dimensions of change, weaving of the themes into a practical workflow, and a stakeholder categorization framework mapped to power of influence spectrum. In addition, an interconnected Organisational Model - Human, Business, and Environment - is presented. The proposed extensions aim to improve the success rate of digital transformation and as a result, contribute to boosting productivity, reducing operating costs and improving organisational performance.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Tang, Y.
Thesis/Report Department:Henley Business School
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Henley Business School
ID Code:89044


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