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Min Tian - Innovation through digitalization: How Sociotechnical Tensions Drive Innovation

In the digital age, many firms seek to innovate through digitalization. Scholars of information systems (IS) have drawn upon the theoretical insights of the sociotechnical interrelations that accompany digitalization to analyze digital innovation. However, digitalization, which stimulates social technical changes, put the established sociotechnical interrelations repeatedly under pressure. This leads to sociotechnical tensions. This dissertation argues that sociotechnical tensions, stimulated by digitalization, are the key driving force for innovation. This dissertation aims to contribute to the current body of sociotechnical research by exploring how sociotechnical tensions drive digital innovation. It includes three papers and a cover text.

Paper 1 conceptualizes iterative digitalization as the ongoing result of resource-interaction practices, including systematic networking, flexible engineering, and scalable task coordination. By investigating five iterations of digitalization processes, Paper 2 analyzes how the interlinked practices of flexible engineering and scalable coordinating lead to the tensions of sociotechnical dissonances, thereby driving digital innovation at the micro level. Paper 3 argues that the interlinked practices of flexible engineering and systematic networking can lead to the tensions of sociotechnical intertwining. The sociotechnical intertwining drives the digital innovations of the macro level. Finally, the cover text provides a combined discussion of all the three papers, and concludes with a process model of dynamic digital innovation.

Min Tian is a researcher at the Stockholm School of Economics. Min Tian's research interests lie in the areas of digital innovation, digital transformation and service innovation.

Min Tian - Innovation through digitalization: How Sociotechnical Tensions Drive Innovation

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