Managing Digital Transformation


Understanding the Strategic Process, Call for chapters by Andreas Hinterhuber, Tiziano Vescovi and Francesca Checchinato; Deadline 30 Apr


Author: Andreas Hinterhuber


Understanding the Strategic Process

by Andreas Hinterhuber, Tiziano Vescovi and Francesca Checchinato (editors)

Background information

Digital transformation is “a process that aims to improve an entity by triggering significant changes to its properties through combinations of information, computing, communication, and connectivity technologies” (Vial, 2019). Digital transformation is multidisciplinary by nature, pervasive and growth-oriented (Verhoef et al., 2020).

As of recent, the topic has attracted substantial interest and, accordingly, comprehensive literature reviews (Classen & Friedli, 2019; Verhoef et al., 2020; Vial, 2019).

Current research suggests that for most companies the digital transformation is not a question of if or when (Hess, Matt, Benlian, & Wiesböck, 2016): the digital transformation is given, key questions relate to how to develop and implement a digital transformation strategy.

And, yet, it is precisely on the question of how that managers lack guidance (Hess et al., 2016). This is because a large part of the managerially relevant studies on the digital transformation have been produced by consulting companies or solution providers that are not without self-interest in their recommendations (Peter, Kraft, & Lindeque, 2020)

Digital transformation represents thus a substantial problem of practice: the overwhelming majority of companies is not ready for a digital future (Kane, Palmer, Phillips, & Kiron, 2015). There are, to be sure, several cases of companies that have successfully mastered the digital transformation: Adobe, Netflix, The New York Times will probably stand the test of time. Many other companies failed largely as a result of not getting the digital transformation right: Kodak and Blockbuster are trivial examples.

The point is: while many senior executives state that the digital transformation is critical for survival, only 3% of companies have actually completed organization-wide digital transformation efforts (Chanias, Myers, & Hess, 2019).

Statement of aims

Key objective of this edited volume is to present scientifically grounded, practically relevant contributions on designing and implementing the digital transformation.

This book is thus intended as a potential guide that lays out how to transition from a largely pre-digital to a largely digital strategy, i.e. how to transition from marketing/selling physical products/services to conceiving, marketing and pricing digital products/services.

Potential topics and chapters

We are open to a wide variety of formats and topics. In terms of methods we welcome (1) literature reviews with a specific focus on reviews that highlight the implications for practice. (2) qualitative studies (e.g. interviews or field observations) and (3) quantitative studies (e.g. studies exploring the link between digital transformation/digital capabilities and firm performance/marketing metrics: customer satisfaction, loyalty, brand value, customer engagement, willingness to pay).

In terms of topics, the following list could provide a starting point for potential contributions

  • digital strategy development and implementation; business models: research questions concern, for example, elements of a digital transformation strategy and best practice examples of a digital strategy implementation. The case of Adobe is discussed in Sprague (2015) and Gupta & Barley (2015).
  • capabilities for implementing the digital transformation: there is substantial research on the role of BDAC (big data analytic capabilities) in the context of the digital transformation ( Gupta & George, 2016). Less researched is the role of dynamic capabilities, i.e. the role of mechanisms to sense, seize and transform opportunities (Teece, 2007) in the context of the digital transformation.
  • organizational design parameters of the digital transformation: governance, organization and e.g. the role of the Chief Digital Officer (CDO) in the digital transformation. For a study on the role of CDOs: Singh & Hess, (2017), Singh et al. (2020).
  • the marketing mix and the digital transformation: pertinent papers in this domain could examine the role of digital channels, digitized products, pricing mechanisms or digital communication in the context of the digital transformation.
  • digital transformation and innovation: potential papers in this area could examine innovation processes and outcomes in the context of the digital transformation. A recent study examines the digitization of existing products/services and the development of (radically) new digital products/services as two diametrically opposed outcomes of innovation processes during the digital transformation (Chanias et al., 2019). Clearly, antecedents, contingency factors, customer perceptions and performance implications of innovation in the context of digitization are all relevant research questions. For a study in financial services see Chanias et al. (2019).
  • assessing the impact of the digital transformation: pertinent research questions are, among others: key metrics for assessing progress in the digital transformation; effect of the digital transformation on efficiency, firm performance, customer satisfaction/loyalty/willingness to pay; undesirable outcomes of the digital transformation (Vial, 2019).


This book is intended as an important handbook that senior executives, marketing and sales managers in B2B/B2C will need to successfully implement the digital transformation. As such we aim for:

  • 8-12 interviews/short papers from industry executives
  • 8-12 contributions from academics in marketing, strategic management, IT.


  • times new roman, 12 points, double line spacing
  • margins « normal »with 1 inch all around
  • no footnotes please: no header and no footer
  • sections in bold and upper case
  • academic reference style in Endnotes using APA 6th
  • page length: 5-10 pages for industry executives, 15 to 20 pages for academic paper
  • tables, figures and illustrations can stay in the body of the paper. use headers, as in figure 1 or table 2.

Specific guidelines for contributions from industry executives – articles

We have worked with executives from a wide variety of companies on previous book projects before and know that not all good managers are automatically good writers. Some suggestions:

  • please minimize references to your company’s history, organization or sales breakdown to a minimum (i.e. to zero).
  • the main focus of your contribution has to be digital transformation. Please make it clear within which overall topic area (see above) your chapter fits. Slides are welcome and may in many cases be the most interesting part of your Please keep in mind: readers are impatient and fairly knowledgeable in the world of digital strategy. Focus on the BIG-AHA and on interesting, counterintuitive findings which are not already published. Do not repeat what others have said before you.
  • Of course: no confidential information whatsoever is of interest. What we want to know are learnings, managerial implications or new findings that are applicable also to other companies.
  • Assume to be presenting/speaking to the CEO/senior management team of a Fortune 500 company making the case for/against the digital transformation. Distill key learnings, insights, case studies, best practices in a 5-10 page article.
  • Key starting material: the practitioner article from which ALL contributions from practice should start is:

Kane, G. C., Palmer, D., Phillips, A. N., & Kiron, D. (2015). Is your business ready for a digital future? MIT Sloan Management Review, 56(4), 37.

All readers of this book will know this article well. Please start from here and take your readers to new insights from there.

Specific guidelines for contributions from industry executives – interviews

We have completed 8 interviews with selected senior executives, e.g. CDOs, SVP IT, CEOs, SVP Marketing from a number of companies (Unilever, Thales, Deutsche Bahn, Lanxess, and others). We are still open to further contributions from insightful practitioners. These interviews will be conducted by the editors and will be extensively copyedited. These interviews can explore any of the topics set out above.

Specific guidelines for contributions from academia

Needless to say, we can accept only original unpublished material. Write-ups of previously published studies are acceptable.

In terms of quality, we look for papers that meet or exceed the standards of solid academic journals working on the intersection between marketing, strategic management and IT, e.g. Journal of Strategic Information Systems, Journal of Business Strategy, Journal of Revenue and Pricing Management, or Business Horizons.

As with contributions from practice, we prefer fewer, but impactful chapters.


By contract with Routledge we are bound to tight timelines. Key steps below:

Key dates Date Activity
  30 April 2020 First draft of papers to us
10 May 2020 Feedback to authors (accept/reject)
30 May 2020 Invited authors revise papers
  15 June 2020 Final papers due
30 June 2020 Manuscript is sent to publisher


All papers will be reviewed by 2 reviewers. We want to publish as many impactful papers as possible; we recognize that our commitment to excellence and innovation implies that we will lose some papers along the way. We will provide candid and timely feedback to all submissions.

Should you have any questions, concerns or suggestions please contact any of the Editors at, tiziano.vescovi@univeit;;


Chanias, S., Myers, M. D., & Hess, T. (2019). Digital transformation strategy making in pre-digital organizations: The case of a financial services provider. Journal of Strategic Information Systems, 28(1), 17-33.

Classen, M., & Friedli, T. (2019). Value-Based Marketing and Sales of Industrial Services: A systematic literature review in the age of digital technologies. Procedia CIRP, 83, 1-7.

Gupta, M., & George, J. F. (2016). Toward the development of a big data analytics capability. Information & Management, 53(8), 1049-1064.

Gupta, S., & Barley, L. (2015). Reinventing Adobe. Harvard Business School case study, 9-514-066, 1-17.

Hess, T., Matt, C., Benlian, A., & Wiesböck, F. (2016). Options for formulating a digital transformation strategy. MIS Quarterly Executive, 15(2), 123-139.

Kane, G. C., Palmer, D., Phillips, A. N., & Kiron, D. (2015). Is your business ready for a digital future? MIT Sloan Management Review, 56(4), 37.

Peter, M. K., Kraft, C., & Lindeque, J. (2020). Strategic action fields of digital transformation. Journal of Strategy and Management, 13(1), 160-180.

Singh, A., & Hess, T. (2017). How Chief Digital Officers promote the digital transformation of their companies. MIS Quarterly Executive, 16(1), 1-17.

Singh, A., Klarner, P., & Hess, T. (2020). How do chief digital officers pursue digital transformation activities? The role of organization design parameters. Long Range Planning, in press.

Sprague, K. (2015). Interview: Reborn in the cloud McKinsey & Company white paper.

Teece, D. J. (2007). Explicating dynamic capabilities: the nature and microfoundations of (sustainable) enterprise performance. Strategic Management Journal, 28(13), 1319-1350.

Verhoef, P. C., Broekhuizen, T., Bart, Y., Bhattacharya, A., Dong, J. Q., Fabian, N., & Haenlein, M. (2020). Digital transformation: A multidisciplinary reflection and research agenda. Journal of Business Research, in print.

Vial, G. (2019). Understanding digital transformation: A review and a research agenda. Journal of Strategic Information Systems, 28(2), 188-144.