Staying afloat amidst extreme uncertainty: A case study of digital transformation in Higher Education

Katerina Antonopoulou, Christos Begkos, Zichen Zhu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Prior research has undertheorized the profound impact of digital technologies by dwelling on the implications of individual technologies on distinct organizational dimensions to explain the phenomenon of digital transformation. This study adopts a view of digital transformation as organizational change that is facilitated by digital technologies and has the potential to reshape every aspect of an organization. The paper aims to explore the underpinning mechanisms of a Higher Education Institution in managing digital transformation and capitalizing upon the benefits of digital technologies amidst extreme uncertainty. We engage in a qualitative, in-depth case study of a UK-based Higher Education Institution to empirically explore the combination of digital technologies and transfiguration of its organizational dimensions during the Covid-19 pandemic. Our findings highlight three mechanisms: fostering technologies to stay afloat, scaling functionalities to create new value, and justifying value to design change. Our contribution is threefold. First, we capture the conjugation of digital technologies and transfiguration of business processes, strategy, and culture in a paradigmatic case of digital transformation. Second, we articulate the mechanisms through which our case organization managed such transformation. Third, we demonstrate that extreme uncertainty catalyzed rather than hindered digital transformation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number122603
JournalTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
Early online date28 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2023


  • Covid-19
  • Digital technologies
  • Digital transformation
  • Higher education
  • Organizational change
  • Uncertainty


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