The digital transformation of Swiss small and medium-sized enterprises: insights from digital tool adoption

Corin Kraft, Johan P. Lindeque, Marc K. Peter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose
The study explores the alignment of Swiss small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) managers' understanding of digital transformation, with evidence of digital tool adoption in managerial and operative work. This reveals opportunities for more fully realizing the potential of digital transformation for SMEs.

Design/methodology/approach
This multiple-case study, with four theoretically sampled cases, analyzes data from the qualitative answers of 1,593 respondents to a survey of Swiss SMEs about digital transformation. The study draws on a convenience sample of Swiss SME managers.

Findings
The analysis shows little understanding of digital transformation as related to managerial work. However, there are two clear digital tool adoption patterns for managerial work: (1) workflow and workforce management and (2) work-flow and team management. Understandings of digital transformation and operative work focus on the (1) organization of operational work or (2) a combination of organization and changing the way people work. The digital tool adoption in operational work additionally focuses on the digital skills of operational employees.

Research limitations/implications
The study is only able to identify patters of understanding of digital transformation and digital tool adoption in managerial and operative work. More research is needed to understand why these patterns are observed.

Practical implications
SME managers need to think far more carefully about aligning their vision for digital transformation and the digital tools they adopt in both managerial and operational work, but especially in managerial work.

Originality/value
This is the first empirical study of the digital transformation of Swiss SMEs and their digital tool adoption. Significant potential for alignment is revealed, suggesting potential performance gains are possible.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)468-494
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Strategy and Management
Volume15
Issue number3
Early online date07 Mar 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jul 2022

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'The digital transformation of Swiss small and medium-sized enterprises: insights from digital tool adoption'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this