The Digital X Phenomena


Turku School of Economics building, Turku.

20.4. 10:00-1600. – Negotiation room Säätiö

21.4. 9:00-15:00 –  Classroom LS 19


Registration is open until April 8. 


Associate Professor Abayomi Baiyere, Copenhagen Business School (CBS)


It is hard to deny that we live in a time where digital technologies are reshaping many aspects of business and social life around us. This is challenging traditional assumptions about established modes of operation in organizations. Scholars and practitioners are increasingly using the label “digital” to signify that there is something different. So much so that many long-established business concepts are now expressed in the formulaic form of “digital X” – where X can stand for innovation, strategy, transformation, infrastructure, etc. In the Information Systems discipline and beyond, digital is emerging as an oft-used conceptual label to characterize age-long phenomena that hitherto have been described
by the IT label. Yet, there is a sense in the community that digital and IT are not mere synonyms, but there is something fundamentally different being signaled when the digital label is invoked.
This workshop is focused on tracing the intellectual roots, and ontological foundations of the growing use of digital as a conceptual label in the field as well as the implications that it holds for future scholarship. Participants should expect an interactive hands-on workshop, and are thus, encouraged to engage dutifully with the provided readings and videos prior to the session.
The workshop is relevant for any scholar or practitioner that is interested in or working in an area that is defined by the digital x coverage such as digital innovation, digital transformation, digital strategy etc. PhD students should find the workshop particularly relevant for clarifying how their view of digital seats within this emerging body of knowledge and how they can potentially contribute to this ongoing scholarly conversation that holds the potential to occupy the field in this current decade and beyond.


Day 1:

  • Introductions
  • History and Need for Conceptual Clarity
  • Making Sense of Digital ”X”
  • Group workshops and debate
  • Assignment preparation

Day 2:

  • Day 1 Recap
  • Exemplars
    • Digital vs IT Transformation
    • Digital vs IT Innovation
    • Digital vs IT Strategy
  • Group presentations
  • Wrap up



Preparation tasks
Please read the listed articles and watch the videos then reflect on:
1. How would you delineate between digital x and IT x? Please, think of some implications of your delineation for a) future research and b) for practice.
2. Do we need new digital theories or do prior theories suffice? Why and what are your reflections on this?
3. What are your reflections on the delineation of the organizing logics of digital versus IT and their relationship?
4. How could you apply the guidelines of a digital-themed research in your own studies?

Pre-class assignment

Prospective participants are expected to review the assigned articles and videos, and subsequently prepare and submit a “conversation starter”. The uploaded document should discuss and integrate the readings as well as offer personal insights and suggested topics for further discussion in the seminar. The page limits should range between 2-5 pages.


Required readings

  • Ross, J.W., Beath, C. and Sebastian, I. (2017) Digitized ≠Digital MIT Sloan CISRBriefing 17(10)
  • Wessel, L., Baiyere, A., Ologeanu-Taddei, R., Cha, J., & Jensen, T. (2020). Unpacking the difference between digital transformation and IT-enabled organizational transformation. Journal of Association of Information Systems
  • Bharadwaj, A., El Sawy, O. A., Pavlou, P. A., & Venkatraman, N. (2013). Digital business strategy: toward a next generation of insights. MIS Quarterly, 471-482.
  • Baskerville, R. L., Myers, M. D., & Yoo, Y. (2020). Digital first: The ontological reversal and new challenges for is research. MIS Quarterly, 44 (2).
  • Faulkner, P., & Runde, J. (2019). Theorizing the Digital Object. MIS Quarterly,43(4).
  • Baiyere, A., Salmela, H., & Tapanainen, T. (2020). Digital transformation and the new logics of business process management. European Journal of Information Systems, 29(3), 238-259.
  • Piccoli, G., Rodriguez, J. and Grover, V. (2021) Digital Strategic Initiatives and Digital Resources: Construct Definition and Future Research Directions, MIS Quarterly
  • Rodriguez, J. A., & Piccoli, G. (2018). Uncovering the digital" x" phenomena in the IS field: A text analysis approach. In Bled eConference (p. 11).
  • Tumbas, S., Berente, N., & Brocke, J. V. (2018). Digital innovation and institutional entrepreneurship: Chief Digital Officer perspectives of their emerging role. Journal of Information Technology, 33(3), 188-202.
  • Yoo, Y., Henfridsson, O., & Lyytinen, K. (2010). Research commentary —the new organizing logic of digital innovation: an agenda for information systems research. Information systems research,21(4), 724-735. (In conjunction with Hukal and Henfridsson 2017)

Recommended readings - (Workshop materials)

  • Baiyere, A., Grover, V., Lyytinen, K., Woerner, S., and Gupta, A. (tbd) Digital X: Charting a path for digital themed research.
  • Baiyere, A., Zimmer, M., Staykova, K., and Jöhnk, J (tbd) Digital cum IT: An empirical unpacking
  • Grover, V. and Lyytinen, K. Pursuit of innovative theories in a digital age (forthcoming) Journal of Information Technology
  • Baiyere, A., Avital, M., Berente, N., Henfridsson, O., Hinings, C. B., Tuertscher, P., & Yoo, Y. (2019). Digital" X": In Need of New Theories or Do Prior Theories Suffice?. In 79th Academy of Management Annual Meeting (AOM) (pp. 9-13).


  • Digital vs Digitized Jeanne Ross - Two transformations
  • Digital vs. IT - Insights from Jeanne Ross - Digital Transformation view
  • Digital vs. IT - Insights from Kalle Lyytinen - General view
  • Digital vs. IT - Insights from Nicholas Berente - Chief Digital Officer view
  • Digital vs. IT - Insights from Youngjin Yoo - Digital Innovations view
  • Digital vs. IT - Insights from Ola Henfridsson - Digital Infrastructures view
  • Digital vs. IT - Insights from Philipp Hukal and Oliver Hillersborg - Digital Innovations view

Credit points

Doctoral students participating in the seminar can obtain 2 credit points. This requires participating and completing the assignments.

Registration fee

This seminar is free-of-charge for member organization's staff and their PhD students. For others the participation fee is 400 €. The participation fee includes access to the event and the event materials. Lunch and dinner are not included.