Generative AI for the digital transformation of SMEs

Academia and practitioners have been increasingly interested in digital transformation (DT) in recent years (Hanelt et al., 2021). DT is defined as “organizational change triggered and shaped by the widespread diffusion of digital technology” (Hanelt et al., 2021, p. 1160). Especially for Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), DT can be a challenging endeavor due to inadequate capabilities and limited resources (Li et al., 2018). Hence, from the perspective of SMEs, the rapid development in computer technology must be promising. In 2022, the release of ChatGPT caught a lot of attention. Everyone has suddenly heard and discussed about artificial intelligence and machine learning. Even 68 % of companies questioned in 2022 agreed that artificial intelligence is the most promising technology (bitkom research, 2023). Thanks to ChatGPT, the topic and the possibilities of generative AI are suddenly generally known and can be experienced by almost everyone. While generative AI was not yet an issue for companies in 2022, 70% of the organizations surveyed attest to generative AI's incredible potential (bitkom research, 2023). Therefore, the master thesis aims to explore the potential of generative AI in the context of the DT of SMEs, with a particular focus on idea generation, i.e., the creation of ideas that result in new organizational digital innovations.

Since the focus is on German small and medium-sized enterprises, excellent German language skills should be available to conduct interviews if necessary.

  • Hanelt, A., Bohnsack, R., Marz, D., & Antunes Marante, C. (2021). A Systematic Review of the Literature on Digital Transformation: Insights and Implications for Strategy and Organizational Change. Journal of Management Studies, 58(5), 1159–1197. (Recommended Reading!)
  • bitkom research. (2023). Künstliche Intelligenz-Wo steht die deutsche Wirtschaft?
  • Li, L., Su, F., Zhang, W., & Mao, J. (2018). Digital Transformation by SME Entrepreneurs: A Capability Perspective. Information Systems Journal, 28(6), 1129–1157.