Pacific Asia Journal of the Association for Information Systems


Background: The digital transformation is an increasingly popular research topic. Unfortunately, it lacks a common and sustainable theoretical fundament. Further, it is unclear which role the characteristics of the affected industries, firms and markets play regarding the impact that the digital transformation has on them.

Method: Taking up these two challenges in a combined fashion for one of the economically most important, but also most specialized and physical global industries, we systematically review the latest literature on the digital transformation within the manufacturing context.

Results: This work is the first one that provides a valid theoretical basis on the digital transformation of the manufacturing industry. Thereby, it becomes clear that this basis is severely depending on its context. In particular, we show that the manufacturing industry is special in several dimensions, mainly due to its high physicality. Many of the connected technological concepts and domains are solely applicable within that particular environment. Also, our results indicate that a notable share of manufacturing firms did not experience any or at least not big impacts by the digital transformation on the business model level but indeed heavy impacts on the process level until now. However, for our initial suspicion that the structural differences between the manufac-turing industry and other more hardware-independent industries are so far reaching as that they would even lead to definitional differences, no evidence was found.

Conclusions: This study contributes to the ongoing line of activities trying to streamline the extensive research around the digital transformation and thereby especially emphasizes the importance of context in that area of research.

Available at: https://aisel.aisnet.org/pajais/vol12/iss3/3/