Technological Forecasting and Social Change

Call for Papers:

Digitalization and agility: 
Opening up the black box on digitalization and agility: key drivers and main outcomes

Background and motivation

Agility has emerged as a key critical business success factor for companies that strive to remain competitive and innovative (Teece et al., 2016). Agility is even more vital with the emergence of disruptive digital technologies (Martínez-Climent et al., 2019; Trost, 2019) and in the so-called “VUCA” world[1] (Bennett & Lemoine, 2014). In fact, the need to be agile is increasingly pressing for firms, especially those operating in varied culturally host countries (Fourné et al., 2014), where traditional corporate foresight and scenario planning techniques necessitate to be upgraded by new digital technologies (Bodwell & Chermack, 2010; Vecchiato, 2015).

As a consequence, being “agile” in the modern digital world has been explored by many scholars in different fields of research, e.g. information technology, supply chain, operations, technology management, sustainable productions as well as from the strategic perspective (e.g. Doz, 2020; Shams et al., 2020). However, agility is not a stand-alone capability but a characteristic resulting from a cluster of competences including adaptability, speed, innovation, sustainability and organisational resilience (Holbeche, 2018) suggesting an additional reframing of the VUCA model in order to take more effective decisions in the new digital world (Soriano et al., 2018).

These characteristics require new organizational capabilities (Kane et al., 2015) as well as the reconfiguration of resources (Doz & Kosonen, 2010) and, as such, could be considered as the new dynamic capabilities for a digital VUCA world (Millar et al., 2018). In fact, although it is very difficult to manage complexity, it is possible to develop key organizational capabilities to forestall complexity (Linstone & Phillips, 2013; Phillips & Linstone, 2016).

Few studies in the literature (e.g. Lucas & Goh, 2009), along with some examples of real companies, advocated that digitalization in a broad sense promotes agility in organizations reducing the risk of being stuck in rigidity traps, which can lead to business failure (Shams et al., 2020). From a different perspective, literature suggested that firms capitalize on digital technologies and create higher value only when agile organizational capabilities are employed and continuously developed (Akhtar et al., 2018; Chan et al., 2019). This happens, for example, when they are able to predict how these new digital tools will affect current business processes, models and products (Scuotto et al., 2017; Jagtap & Duong, 2019) and when employees driven by a truly digital corporate culture are willing to experiment and take risk (Kane et al., 2015).

Notwithstanding the opportunities offered by new digital technologies for different business processes and activities, there are still few empirical studies on the relationship between digitalization and agility, on how the digitalization may contribute to build agility and related competences, and how and whether agility fosters the implementation of disruptive digital technologies within companies. Therefore, there is a need to shed light on the complex relationship between agility and digitalization, with regard to drivers and, equally important, the effects on different outcomes. In fact, future studies should deeply explore the implications for value creation of digitalization and agility. This should open up this black box by providing evidences on why different organizations can yield drastically different outcomes in terms of sustainable strategies, environmental collaborations, sustainable innovation, process and product innovation, business model innovation, internationalization and ultimately financial performances.

Objective and topics

Therefore, this special section attempts to investigate both the “drivers” and “outcomes” of the complex relationship between digitalization and agility. Possible topics of papers may include (but are not limited to):

The interconnections between firm’s agility and digitalizationDrivers of digitalization fostered by agilityOrganizational capabilities that favour agility and digitalizationThe role of human resources in agility and digitalizationTechnological competences and skills that foster agility and digitalizationAgility and digital skills for internationalizationAgility, digitalization and technological innovationsAgility, digitalization and new sustainable business modelAgility, digitalization and sustainable practicesAgility, digitalization and financial performance
Paper Submission

Full papers are due April 30, 2021, via the Technological Forecasting and Social Change submission system. All papers must be submitted in the Special Issue category.

Important Dates:

Submission dates: June 1, 2020 – April 30, 2021

Final Revisions Due (including revisions in response to any second reviews): March 31, 2022

Guest Editors

Stefano Bresciani, University of Turin (Italy), [log in to unmask] (leading guest editor)

Alberto Ferraris, University of Turin (Italy) & Ural Federal University (Russia), [log in to unmask]

Gabriele Santoro, University of Turin (Italy), [log in to unmask]

Masaaki Kotabe, Temple University (USA), [log in to unmask]


Akhtar, P., Khan, Z., Tarba, S., & Jayawickrama, U. (2018). The Internet of Things, dynamic data and information processing capabilities, and operational agility. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 136, 307-316.

Bennett, N., & Lemoine, G. J. (2014). What a difference a word makes: Understanding threats to performance in a VUCA world. Business Horizons, 57(3), 311-317.

Bodwell, W., & Chermack, T. J. (2010). Organizational ambidexterity: Integrating deliberate and emergent strategy with scenario planning. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 77(2), 193-202.

Chan, C. M., Teoh, S. Y., Yeow, A., & Pan, G. (2019). Agility in responding to disruptive digital innovation: Case study of an SME. Information Systems Journal, 29(2), 436-455.

Doz, Y. (2020). Fostering strategic agility: How individual executives and human resource practices contribute. Human Resource Management Review, 30(1), 100693.

Doz, Y. L., & Kosonen, M. (2010). Embedding strategic agility: A leadership agenda for accelerating business model renewal. Long range planning, 43(2-3), 370-382.

Fourné, S. P., Jansen, J. J., & Mom, T. J. (2014). Strategic agility in MNEs: Managing tensions to capture opportunities across emerging and established markets. California Management Review, 56(3), 13-38.

Holbeche, L. (2018). The agile organization: How to build an engaged, innovative and resilient business. Kogan Page Publishers.

Jagtap, S., & Duong, L. N. K. (2019). Improving the new product development using big data: A case study of a food company. British Food Journal.

Kane, G. C., Palmer, D., Phillips, A. N., & Kiron, D. (2015). Is your business ready for a digital future?. MIT Sloan management review, 56(4), 37.

Linstone, H. A., & Phillips, F. (2013). The simultaneous localization–globalization impact of information/communication technology. Technological Forecasting & Social Change, 7(80), 1438-1443.

Lucas Jr, H. C., & Goh, J. M. (2009). Disruptive technology: How Kodak missed the digital photography revolution. The Journal of Strategic Information Systems, 18(1), 46-55.

Martínez-Climent, C., Rodríguez-García, M., & Ribeiro-Soriano, D. (2019). Digital transformations and value creation in international markets. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, DOI:

Millar, C. C., Groth, O., & Mahon, J. F. (2018). Management innovation in a VUCA world: Challenges and recommendations. California Management Review, 61(1), 5-14.

Phillips, F., & Linstone, H. (2016). Key ideas from a 25-year collaboration at technological forecasting & social change. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 105, 158-166.

Scuotto, V., Santoro, G., Bresciani, S., & Del Giudice, M. (2017). Shifting intra‐and inter‐organizational innovation processes towards digital business: an empirical analysis of SMEs. Creativity and Innovation Management, 26(3), 247-255.

Shams, R., Vrontis, D., Belyaeva, Z., Ferraris, A., & Czinkota, M. R. (2020). Strategic agility in international business: A conceptual framework for “agile” multinationals. Journal of International Management, DOI:

Soriano, D. R., Martinez-Climent, C., & Tur-Porcar, A. M. (2018). Innovation, knowledge, judgment and decision-making as virtuous cycles. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research,

Teece, D., Peteraf, M., & Leih, S. (2016). Dynamic capabilities and organizational agility: Risk, uncertainty, and strategy in the innovation economy. California Management Review, 58(4), 13-35.

Trost, A. (2019). Human Resources Strategies: balancing stability and agility in times of digitization. Springer Nature.

Vecchiato, R. (2015). Creating value through foresight: First mover advantages and strategic agility. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 101, 25-36.

Masaaki "Mike" Kotabe
The Washburn Chair Professor of International Business and Marketing
Past President, Academy of International Business
Temple University
The Fox School of Business
1801 Liacouras Walk
559 Alter Hall (006-14)
Philadelphia, PA 19122-6083
Ph.  215-204-7704
Fax. 215-204-8029

AIB-L is brought to you by the Academy of International Business.
For information:
To post message: [log in to unmask]
For assistance: [log in to unmask]
AIB-L is a moderated list.