Paper Number

1464

Paper Type

Complete Research Paper

Abstract

This research investigates the process of digital transformation (DT) in German Mittelstand enterprises (MEs), a critical sector employing over half of the German workforce yet underexplored in DT research. Applying a qualitative approach, we empirically conducted 21 semi-structured interviews across various MEs and key stakeholders to understand their unique DT process. Our findings reveal the challenges and opportunities faced by MEs throughout the DT process. Thus, this study indicates DT to be a strategic, structural, and cultural problem most prominently influenced by organizational capabilities and the business environment. Furthermore, aspects such as the ownership structure and the uncertain financial impact are addressed. These insights have significant implications: for both the academic discourse, enriching the understanding of DT in an often-overlooked economic sector, and for practitioners, guiding targeted initiatives for supporting MEs in their DT journey.

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Jun 14th, 12:00 AM

HOW ARE MITTELSTAND ENTERPRISES NAVIGATING THE DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION PROCESS? AN EXPLORATORY STUDY IN GERMANY

This research investigates the process of digital transformation (DT) in German Mittelstand enterprises (MEs), a critical sector employing over half of the German workforce yet underexplored in DT research. Applying a qualitative approach, we empirically conducted 21 semi-structured interviews across various MEs and key stakeholders to understand their unique DT process. Our findings reveal the challenges and opportunities faced by MEs throughout the DT process. Thus, this study indicates DT to be a strategic, structural, and cultural problem most prominently influenced by organizational capabilities and the business environment. Furthermore, aspects such as the ownership structure and the uncertain financial impact are addressed. These insights have significant implications: for both the academic discourse, enriching the understanding of DT in an often-overlooked economic sector, and for practitioners, guiding targeted initiatives for supporting MEs in their DT journey.

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