Understanding Digital Transformation from an Inter-organizational Network Perspective


Submission window: October 1st, 2021 – December 31st, 2021

Guest Editors

Jens Eklinder-Frick, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden

Andrea Perna, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Ancona, Italy

Vincent Fremont, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden

Much has been written about digitization and digitalization of business practices, digital transformation, however, is a much deeper change process. In short, digital transformation can be described as an evolutionary process in which digital capabilities and technologies are used to form new business models, operational processes and customer experiences, in turn, creating customer value. The digital transformation literature thus encapsulates both (1) inter-organizational activities such as process improvements and deliveries/logistics, (2) interacting resources, in the form of machine interactivity and interactive information technology, as well as (3) changes in relational bonds between interacting actors, addressing specialized customer requirements and needs. Still, the definition of the digital transformation phenomenon, its characteristics and drivers, remain vague. Moreover, digital transformation literature tends to focus on single firm level technology use, failing to recognize the embeddedness of such technology in inter-organizational contexts.

The inter-organizational network stream of literature has for the last 40 years empirically investigated how inter-organizational activities, resource utilization and actor bonds generate value for business actors. It is thus logical that literature embracing the inter-organizational network perspective also aid the understanding of the novel phenomenon of digital transformation. Especially when it comes to how such a phenomenon might result in value creation within and between interacting firms. Historically, this literature has proven apt in empirically tracing and explaining innovation and change processes within industrial business practices. Moreover, there is currently an increase in papers within this stream of literature that study digital transformation related phenomenon.

The current trend of digital transformation within most aspects of business practices begs a certain number of questions, and this special issue welcomes papers that aim to further the understanding of how the phenomenon of digital transformation of inter-organizational business practices can create value for the involved business actors.

  • What is the relation between digital and transformation from an IMP perspective?
  • How can IMP contribute to the understanding of the digital transformation process? 
  • Organizing the digital transformation process: what are the key factors which boost/hinder the digital transformation process?
  • Coping with the different level of analysis when investigating the digital transformation phenomenon from an interactive point of view;
  • How can IMP theory help assess the readiness and maturity of firms' digital transformations?
  • How can IMP research help companies navigate through their digital transformation to achieve their change goals?
  • How can digital transformation of business practices make firms industrial networks more sustainable?
  • Which characteristics should future digital technologies develop to interact with, and get embedded in, established resource networks? 
  • How are digital transformations changing the way firms develop actor bonds, resource ties and activity links?


All papers should be submitted through the Journal’s submission process, i.e., ScholarOne Manuscript Central online submission system. Please make sure you select the special issue “Understanding Digital Transformation from an Inter-organizational Network Perspective” when submitting your manuscript. For details on how to submit using Manuscript Central, please, see the (JBIM) author guidelines. https://www.emeraldgrouppublishing.com/journal/jbim

The submission window for full paper submissions is October 1st, 2021 – December 31st, 2021. The submissions must conform to JBIM’s author guidelines. These guidelines will also steer authors through the submission process. Articles submitted should not have been published before in their current (or substantially similar) form and should not be under consideration for publication elsewhere. Please see Emerald's originality guidelines for further details.

Further information

For questions regarding the content of this special issue, please contact:

Jens Eklinder-Frick, 

Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden

[email protected]