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The ability to sense and respond in a rapidly, unpredictably, and continuously changing digital environment requires a high degree of organizational agility and consequently requests a fundamental change in the organizational socio-technical system. Especially when socio-technical systems are punctuated by critical incidents like the COVID-19 pandemic. We apply a process ontology on transformational changes of socio-technical systems in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, following 13 organizational paths through in-depth interviews with top-tier managers. Our theory describes the transformation process enacted by COVID-19 as four-phased process. We illustrate that this transformation process changed the composition of the socio-technical system elements through the critical incident of the COVID-19 pandemic. In so doing, our process theory contributes to a better understanding of the embodied change in the individual components of the STS through critical incidents. In addition, we provide useful practical insights on what decisions and activities during the process elicted favourable changes towards organizational agility.



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