IoT – Inducing Organizational Transformation? Defended on Thursday, 8 December 2022

Coordination within and between firms is as important as ever as supply chain complexity continues to increase. The Internet of Things (IoT) has provided firms with new opportunities to govern coordination, improve intra- and interorganizational processes, and make the hitherto unknown known. Many firms jumped on the bandwagon but some underestimated the transformative impact of a technology that altered the interface, i.e., the foundation of components and the interaction between them. This dissertation explores how firms, that have previously focused on the development of hardware-based mechanical systems, can learn about unknown software-based systems, as well as learn with them. In the first study, we link the ease of knowledge absorption with the product architecture of the industry's former dominant design, arguing that an integral product architecture facilitates knowledge absorption under a dominant design but impedes it when the dominant design shifts. In the second study, we establish IoT-enabled monitoring between a buyer and a supplier as a substitute-in-use for trust governance and complement for contractual governance. We more specifically differentiate between high-capability and low-capability suppliers and demonstrate that IoT-enabled monitoring induces supplier effort for both, but triggers more sensitive reactions of high-capability suppliers. With the third study, we introduce intentional imitation of start-up practices as an appropriate measure to address change. Together, we provide three accounts of how firms can manage the transformation and overcome the challenges associated with IoT.


Organizational Learning, Dominant Design, Product Architecture, IoT, Monitoring, Supplier Capability, Absorptive Capacity, Governance Mechanisms, Trust, Contracts, Dynamic Capabilities

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