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Managerial Practices for the Digital Transformation of Manufacturers

Authors: Moritz Classen, Christoph Blum, Lukas Budde, Roman Haenggi

Published: December 2018


​The digital transformation is a complex and multi-faceted phenomenon, which companies hamper to manage effectively. One particular facet of this phenomenon is the role of managers, which is still underrepresented in research. This study aims to identify and explain why and what managerial practices and competencies are particularly needed to effectively govern through this transformation. We choose the case study methodology as the research design with eight manufacturing companies in Western Europe, where we applied within- and cross-case analyses. Specific barriers for digital transformation and four aggregated managerial practices, such as strategy/organization, collaboration, cross-functionality and data-driven use cases, were identified. These were supported by 13 competencies to facilitate digitalization. We explicate these practices based on the change management theory and provide a model describing the impact of these practices on profitability. This study contributes to the emergent change theory by analyzing practices and competencies that managers should be equipped with to foster digitalization.

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