The ‘Digital Facade’ of Rapidly Growing Entrepreneurial Organizations

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The ‘Digital Facade’ of Rapidly Growing Entrepreneurial Organizations

November 29, 2016 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Speaker: Sanja Tumbas

Presentation in room: 4A05

Framing: The chosen project for the lunchtime talk is at the heart of my PhD journey investigating entrepreneurial organizations during rapid growth. There are several ongoing studies looking at so called “grown digital” as well as “born digital” organizations. During the talk I would specifically focus on one mechanism – the digital façade – by which digital technologies enable growth. The digital façade allows organizations to carve out space for building up digital capabilities. The emphasis on “grown digital” is a part of the findings – these are organizations for which digital technologies start playing a significant role during rapid growth.

Initial versions of this study were presented during ICIS 2015 as part of the conference and doctoral consortium. Since then, we have collected additional data and right now we work on the manuscript which is to be submitted to a journal in the near future.

The ‘Digital Façade’ of Rapidly Growing Entrepreneurial Organizations

Digitalization is becoming more and more inseparable from entrepreneurial processes. There are two key perspectives that the IS literature takes on the role of digital technologies in entrepreneurial organizations. On the one hand the strategic perspective posits that the role involves “digital options”. On the other hand, the institutional perspective suggests that organizations adopt digital technologies to gain legitimacy. Both arguments build on the assumption that these organizations are large, established and choose to invest resources upfront. However, entrepreneurial organizations during growth often can’t make large upfront investments. We conduct an exploratory study of 23 entrepreneurial organizations that are undergoing, or have undergone, periods of rapid growth. From this analysis, we identify one important mechanism whereby digital technologies enable this growth—what we refer to as the “digital façade.” A minimally-implemented digital facade enables companies to loosely couple their activities from the presentation of these activities to customers and partners. The façade moves beyond creating an impression, and provides a space for the organizations to build necessary digital capabilities.

Keywords: Digital entrepreneurship, organizational growth, legitimacy, loose coupling, theory building

Research interests:

– At the intersection of IS and ENT: digital entrepreneurship, scaling digital ventures

– Different approaches to innovation with digital technologies: institutional logics of digital innovation, digital transformation, distinction between “IT” and “digital”

– Methodological: qualitative, theory building, digital ethnography

Short bio: Sanja Tumbas is a Ph.D. candidate in Information Systems at the University of Lichtenstein. Her research focuses broadly on social studies of information systems, and more specifically on digital innovation, digital entrepreneurship and institutional analysis.


November 29, 2016
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Event Category:


IT University of Copenhagen
Rued Langgaards Vej 7
Copenhagen S, Denmark
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