PhD Defence: Dynamic Capabilities for Managing Emerging Technologies - Organizational and Managerial Antecedents of Effective Adoption of Cloud Computing

In his dissertation ‘Dynamic Capabilities for Managing Emerging Technologies: Organizational and Managerial Antecedents of Effective Adoption of Cloud Computing’ ERIM’s Saeed Khanagha investigates how organizations handle major technological shifts, with a focus on Cloud Computing,  and demonstrates that though organizations can usually successfully handle the technical aspects of transformational change, they stumble when it comes to more fundamental, organizational changes. Through examination of internal change agents, Saeed proposes that top management support and customer-involvement are key success metrics for major technologically-driven, transformational change, in the context of Cloud Computing.

Saeed defended his dissertation in the Senate Hall at Erasmus University Rotterdam on Thursday, 8 January 2015. His supervisors were Professor Henk Volberda and Professor IIan Ohsri. Other members of the Doctoral Committee included Professor Krsto Pandza (Leeds University Business School), Professor Frans van den Bosch (ERIM), and Professor Peter Vervest (ERIM).

About Saeed Khanagha

Saeed Khanagha (Tehran, September 18, 1981) received his M.Sc. degree in Industrial Engineering-Management of innovation and product development from Linköping University, Sweden and M.Sc. in Management from University of Tehran. Saeed’s PhD study was funded by a European Commission Marie Curie project, entitled Management of Emerging Technologies for Economic Impact (MANETEI).

His research interests include dynamic capabilities, technological discontinuity and change, business model innovation and organizational ambidexterity.  He is focused on combining qualitative and quantitative methods in doing empirical research in the field of management. His works has been published in international journals such as European Management Review and R&D Management. Moreover, he has presented his research at major international conferences, such as the Academy of Management, EGOS, and the Strategic Management Society. He currently serves as an ad-hoc reviewer for the R&D Management journal. He is involved in organizing academic track is academic conferences and development of research proposals for national and European foundations grants. He has co-lectured in a number of M.Sc. and B.Sc. courses as well as supervision of students in different levels. Saeed is currently an assistant professor of strategy in Radboud University, Nijmegen and a senior researcher at Ericsson AB.

Thesis Abstract

The advancement of information and communication technologies has brought a digital age, where massive computing power, high speed and ubiquitous access to internet and more recently Cloud Computing Technology are expected to transform a wide range of organizations, industries, and societies. The complexities and uncertainties associated with such a transformation process generate numerous puzzling questions for practitioners and academic researchers. How can organizations overcome rigidities in their resources and routines and adapt in line with the requirements of such technological change? What are the distinct characteristics of the established firms that are more successful in maintaining their competiveness during and after the transformation process?

This dissertation combines multiple data sources concerning organizational adoption of Cloud Computing. It includes data from a 4-year intensive filed study, multiple comparative case studies, and a survey among Dutch companies, to provide a basis for better understanding of the micro-foundations of organizational capabilities for managing emerging technologies. Drawing on the literature on dynamic capabilities, this dissertation provides a more complete picture of the drivers of effective response to a technological change through investigation of the interplay between structures, routines, and managerial cognition. In this dissertation, first an investigation on the processes of organizational adaptation in response to the technological change is provided. I discuss what type of managerial initiatives are needed for fostering effective adoption of emerging technologies and what are the key determinants and managerial roles for realizing those initiatives. Second, I investigate the relationship between structure, strategic intent, and technology driven business model innovation and argue that, rather than any particular structural form, structural alteration may be crucial for enabling transition to a new business model. Third, I discuss the important role of involvement and close interaction with the customers in giving rise to managerial attention and initiatives that will in turn support exploratory behavior in emerging technology fields. Lastly, the interplay between formalization, centralization, and managerial attention in enabling early sensing and seizing of emerging technologies has been investigated. The findings illustrate how different organizational characteristics may influence the degree of dependence to managerial attention for responding to technological change. The dissertation as whole provides new insights on the origins and outcomes of dynamic capabilities for managing emerging technologies.

Photos: Chris Gorzeman / Capital Images