Digital Work and Organisational Transformation: Emergent Digital/Human Work Configurations in Modern Organisations: Editorial: Special Issue on Strategic Perspectives on Digital Work and Organisational Transformation

Baptista J, Stein MK, Klein S, {Watson Manheim} MB, Lee J

Workplace technologies are more central to working in organisations than ever before. These technologies began as instrumental aids to support office work of individuals but have since also become the basis for social interactions and community building in organisations and more recently have become able to perform managerial roles based on advanced AI capabilities. Our call for papers to this special issue invited original studies to go further and advance our thinking on the strategic implications of this layered evolution of workplace technologies on work and the structure of organisations. In this introduction, we synthesise the main themes from the special issue, and also ongoing dialogues with the growing community at the regular AIS / IFIP 9.1 workshop on the Changing Nature of Work. A key observation is that the work involved in configuring emergent Digital/Human configurations, is vastly under-reported and poorly understood. Paradoxically, this configuring work is more demanding and critical in the shaping of organisations that we see moving forward. We suggest that this type of largely invisible work requires engagement beyond the level of execution or even the meaning of work, it requires intervening with third order effects that get to the core of what an organisation is. We highlight the challenges for organisations in dealing with third order change, particularly because these effects are beyond existing frames of reference and require a more dynamic and supple response based on the values, purpose and~intent dominant~in the organisation – we describe this as structural digital work. Leaders that are unable or unwilling to engage with effects at this level, and this type of work, will miss identifying core opportunities and risks associated with the digital transformation emerging in organisations. We also reflect on the value of current theories and methods used to research this emergent phenomenon.

Digital work; Organisational transformation; Digital/Human configurations; Digital transformation; Changing nature of work; New ways of working

Publication type
Research article (journal)

Peer reviewed

Publication status


Journal of Strategic Information Systems






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