Digital innovation and institutional entrepreneurship: Chief Digital Officer perspectives of their emerging role

Abstract

In this study, we explore the role of Chief Digital Officer (CDO) through the perspectives of CDOs in thirty-five organizations. In enacting their emerging role, CDOs must navigate the existing institutionalized context of established information technology (IT) roles and respective jurisdictional claims. We find that CDOs intentionally draw on the term “digital” to distance themselves from existing executive roles in order to gain legitimacy. CDOs as institutional entrepreneurs take a focal role in both: (1) articulating and developing the emerging “digital” logic of action and (2) enacting this digital logic through strategies such as grafting, bridging, and decoupling to navigate tensions between the existing and emerging approaches to innovation with digital technologies.

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Acknowledgements

We are grateful for the support and time the CDOs dedicated to  participate in the study, as well as the editorial and reviewer team for constructive and challenging comments. Also, we are thankful for the opportunity to present earlier versions of the manuscript during the KIN (The Knowledge, Information and Innovation Research Group) “Workshop Organizing for Digital Innovation” in Amsterdam 2016.

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Correspondence to Sanja Tumbas.

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Tumbas, S., Berente, N. & vom Brocke, J. Digital innovation and institutional entrepreneurship: Chief Digital Officer perspectives of their emerging role. J Inf Technol 33, 188–202 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41265-018-0055-0

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Keywords

  • Digital innovation
  • Chief Digital Officer
  • Chief Information Officer
  • Institutional entrepreneurship
  • Institutional logic
  • Logic of action
  • Organizational tensions
  • Grafting
  • Bridging
  • Decoupling