PhD Defence Mohammad Taghi Ramezan Zadeh

In his dissertation 'How firms cope with digital revolution' Mohammad Taghi Ramezan Zadeh presented three studies of the firms’ strategy and organization in developing and adopting digital technological innovations. In this dissertation, the boundary conditions of the current theories in the digital era were identified, and new theories were developed and tested. Consequently, recommendations were provided for practice. Avenues for future research were also suggested. Mohammad Taghi defended his dissertation on Thursday, 2 September at 13:00h. His supervisors were Prof. Henk Volberda (University of Amsterdam) and Prof. Joep Cornelissen (RSM). The members of the Doctoral Committee were Prof. Giovanni Gavetti (Dartmouth College), Prof. Davide Ravasi (University College London), and Prof. Vareska van de Vrande (RSM).


About Mohammad Taghi Ramezan Zadeh

Mohammad Taghi Ramezan Zadeh (1979) is a PhD candidate in strategic management at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University. He obtained his BSc in Engineering and his MSc in management. In 2015, he started his PhD with over a decade of experience as a consultant and a manager. From 2018 until January 2020, Taghi was part of Science-Based Business Center, Faculty of Science, Leiden University as a postdoctoral researcher. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Strategy at Amsterdam Business School, University of Amsterdam.
Taghi’s research bridges managerial and organizational cognition and strategy theories to explain incumbent firms’ adaptation to digital revolution. He has presented his studies at the leading conferences of management and organization research. The Strategic Management Interest Group of the European Academy of Management recognized his co-authored paper as the best paper of the Interest Group (2015). His paper on the identity strategies for the firm’s adaptation (Chapter 4 of his PhD dissertation) was nominated for the best paper prize of the Strategic Management Society Annual Conference (2020). One of his co-authored papers is published in the Journal of Management Studies (Chapter 2 of his PhD dissertation). He has also developed and taught courses on strategy, (corporate) entrepreneurship, and digital transformation in MSc and BSc programs at Erasmus University, Leiden University, and the University of Amsterdam.

Thesis Abstract

Digital-driven technological innovations are revolutionizing our world, and firms have to cope with digital innovations to survive. Coming to grips with the innovations can be problematic, even for historically successful incumbent firms. Therefore, we are interested in understanding how firms cope with digital innovation. This dissertation presents three studies of the firms’ strategy and organization in developing and adopting digital technological innovations. The first study is an in-depth case study of an incumbent’s response to technological disruption. In the early stages of technological disruption, managers have competing perceptions of the future, and customers’ demand is heterogeneous. The study shows how a firm with “misalignment capability” and “multi-focus attention” can cope with its customers’ divergent demands to avoid disruption. In the second study, the combined effect of macro- and micro-factors on technology adoption is scrutinized. This study reveals that organizational cognitive capabilities and managerial attention to new technology compensate for institutional shortcomings, i.e., weak regulatory system and various temporal orientations, in speeding up platform technology adoption. In the third study, the concentration is on organizational cognition in firms’ digital transformation. This study offers a model of how firms manage adaptation tensions rooted in their organizational identity by “reflecting on organizational identity, pluralizing organizational identity, leveraging identity pluralism, and extending the organizational identity.” In this dissertation, the boundary conditions of the current theories in the digital era are identified, and new theories are developed and tested. Consequently, recommendations are provided for practice. Avenues for future research are also suggested.

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Photos: Chris Gorzeman / Capital Images