26 Apr 2022

IJMR Special Issue Call for Papers: Strategy in the Digital Transformation Era

Special Issue Call for Papers

Strategy in the Digital Transformation Era

Submission Deadline: 30 November 2022

Guest Editors:

Professor Marko Kohtamäki, University of Vaasa, Finland

Professor Rodrigo Rabetino, University of Vaasa, Finland

Professor Vinit Parida, Luleå University of Technology, Sweden

Professor Paavo Ritala, LUT University, Finland


The business landscape is swiftly and significantly altering due to the rising digital transformation in the twenty-first century. Almost every aspect of doing business has changed to a greater or lesser extent due to the rapid changes in offerings and value propositions, customer expectations, revenue models, and new value creation and collaboration methods. Despite this major transformation, strategy-related research continues to be primarily influenced by different theories developed years or decades ago in a substantially different business landscape (He et al., 2020). Of course, new approaches such as strategy-as-practice (Kohtamäki et al., 2021), and concepts such as business models (Zott et al., 2011), ecosystems and platforms (Jacobides et al., 2018), open innovation (Chesbrough, 2011), or micro-foundations (Felin et al., 2015) and paradoxes (Smith and Lewis, 2011) have emerged over the last decades. Studies have started to discuss more explicitly about the role of digital technologies and digital transformation in strategy and strategic management context (Ritala et al., 2021; Volberda et al., 2021). However, as digital transformation touches upon all aspects of organizing and strategy (Hanelt et al., 2021; Lanzolla et al., 2020) and occurs across levels of analysis (Dąbrowska et al., 2022), new approaches that combine strategy research and digital transformation are needed. While narrow-range theories addressing particular contexts and new concepts for new business challenges may be needed in strategy research (Leiblein and Reuer, 2020), it seems essential to revisit the theoretical insights and underpinnings and the boundary conditions of the dominant strategic management research, which remains heavily grounded on assumptions from a previous era but may appear less valid in a digital world. Indeed, such a review can occur at different levels and dimensions, including onto-epistemological positions and methodological approaches (Rabetino et al., 2021).

Literature reviews are a powerful tool for advancing conceptual and methodological approaches to meet new business challenges. For instance, Durand et al. (2017) point out that literature reviews can help in extending established theories and combining existing concepts and research findings to analyse emerging phenomena. The digital era might need new theories, but essential contributions in strategic management can also come from extending, clarifying, or applying existing theories in fresh and exciting manners (Kohtamäki et al., 2019; Makadok et al., 2018). Consequently, we hope to stimulate novel theoretical insights from multidisciplinary research, combining information systems and management (e.g., Yoo et al., 2012) to better comprehend emerging strategy-related challenges modern organizations encounter in strategizing in the digital age. In particular, we look for manuscripts that propose alternative perspectives and new applications or extend/supplement existing theoretical perspectives and research techniques that can better meet strategic challenges arising from digital transformation.

Special issue main themes

The present SI proposal invites scholars to debate critical questions for the future development of the strategy field, taking seriously the role of digital technology and digital transformation in strategic management. We want to encourage academics to submit literature reviews that build and extend knowledge at the intersection of strategy and digital transformation research areas. The primary drive of this SI proposal is to establish a shared platform to develop the field facing the challenges of strategizing in the digital age, including alternative theoretical lenses, opportunities for theory development, and manners to address emerging research questions/issues in the strategy field. Thus, we seek submissions with an original perspective and advanced strategic thinking. We do not seek contributions proposing a single unified agenda but a variety of perspectives on how strategy approaches and strategizing may change in a digital landscape. Hence, submissions to the SI should use various means of studying the previous literature to propose alternative approaches and future directions, to make a significant and novel contribution (Breslin, Gatrell, and Bailey, 2020). We look for submissions beyond systematic reviews and propose and discuss fresh conceptual and methodological avenues. We welcome academically-oriented papers with solid conceptual grounding that should look for, but not be limited to, addressing the following issues:

  • The effect of digital technologies and digital transformation on particular strategy content approaches, e.g., theory of the firm and firm boundary theories
  • The interplay between digital transformation and strategy-as-practice, microfoundations, or strategy process approaches.
  • Digital strategy, digital strategizing, and open strategy
  • Digital technology-enabled business models, such as business models in digital platforms and ecosystems
  • Business model innovation with digital technologies or in digital transformation contexts
  • Interaction between the business environment and the firm in the digital age
  • The changing role of scientific paradigms in digital transformation
  • Theorizing digital technologies in the field of strategic management
  • Interplay between strategic management theory/research and other disciplines (e.g. information systems) in the context of digital transformation
  • The rise of new methodologies to study strategy in the age of digitalization

Other topics are also welcome if they contribute to the proposed debate.

Instructions to authors

A multistage review process will ensure that the special issue obtains the best mix of theory-driven and methodologically based articles. Potential manuscripts are to be submitted through IJMR's system by the official submission deadline below (30 November 2022). All papers submitted will be subject to an initial screening by the IJMR editorial team. Submissions deemed suitable will then be sent out to review base for double-blind reviews. 

Manuscripts should follow the Author Guidelines set out by the International Journal of Management Reviews available at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1468-2370/homepage/ForAuthors.html.

Manuscripts should be submitted online via http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/ijmr highlighting that you wish to be considered for the Special Issue: ‘Strategy in the digital transformation era’.

See also:

Breslin D., Gatrell C. & Bailey K. (2020). Developing Insights through Reviews: Reflecting on the 20th Anniversary of the International Journal of Management Reviews. International Journal of Management Reviews, 20, pp. 3-9. https://doi.org/10.1111/ijmr.12219.

Timeline for the special issue

  • Deadline for paper submission: 30 November 2022
  • Reviewer first report: 25 May 2023
  • Revised paper submission: 30 August 2023
  • Reviewer second reports: 30 December 2023
  • Publication expected by: mid-2024

Guest editors

Marko Kohtamäki is a Professor of Strategy and the director of the "Strategic Business Development" research program at the University of Vaasa, Finland, and has served as a Visiting Professor at Luleå University of Technology, Sweden, as well as USN Business School, Norway, and as an associate fellow in the University of Oxford, Said Business School, United Kingdom. Marko Kohtamäki takes particular interest in servitization and product-service systems, business models, strategic practices, and business intelligence in technology companies. He has served as a guest editor in the International Journal of Operations and Production Management, Technovation, Industrial Marketing Management, Journal of Business Research, and published in distinguished international journals such as Strategic Management Journal, International Journal of Management Reviews, International Journal of Operations and Production Management, Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, Long Range Planning, International Journal of Production Economics, Technovation, Industrial Marketing Management, amongst others, Email: [email protected].

Rodrigo Rabetino is a Professor of Strategic Management in the School of Management and the Vaasa Energy Business Innovation Centre (VEBIC) at the University of Vaasa (Finland). His current research activities concern servitization and product-service systems, industrial service business, business intelligence, business models, strategy as practice, and small business management. Rodrigo Rabetino has served as a Guest editor in international journals such as the International Journal of Operations and Production Management, Industrial Marketing Management, and Small Business Economics. He has published articles in international journals such as International Journal of Management Reviews, Regional Studies, International Journal of Operations and Production Management, Technovation, Industrial Marketing Management, Journal of Business Research, International Journal of Production Economics, Journal of Small Business Management, and Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, amongst others, Email: [email protected].

Vinit Parida is a Chaired Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Luleå University of Technology. His research interests include digitalization transformation, business model innovation, organizational capabilities, servitization, industrial ecosystem formation, and circular economy. His research has been published in journals such as Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Management, Strategic Management Journal, Journal of Management Studies, Journal of Product Innovation Management, MIT Sloan Management Review, California Management Review, and others. He is Associate Editor for the Journal of Business Research and has edited numerous special issues with leading journals. He is a nominated  member of the Swedish Ministry high commission that focuses on policies for digital transformation of the Swedish Industry. He leads numerous national and international research projects in close cooperation with industry and has received multiple awards for his research contributions. Email: [email protected].  

Paavo Ritala is a Professor of Strategy and Innovation at the School of Business and Management at LUT University, Finland. His main research themes include ecosystems and platforms, the role of data and digital technologies in organizations, collaborative innovation, sustainable business models, and circular economy. His research has been published in journals such as Journal of Management, Research Policy, Journal of Product Innovation Management, R&D Management, Technovation, Long Range Planning, Industrial and Corporate Change & California Management Review. He is closely involved with business practice through research projects, executive and professional education programs, and speaker and advisory roles. Prof. Ritala is the Co-Editor-in-Chief of R&D Management, and he serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Product Innovation Management. Email: [email protected].


Chesbrough, H., 2011. Open Services Innovation. Jossey-Bass, Wiley.

Dąbrowska, J., Almpanopoulou, A., Brem, A., Chesbrough, H., Cucino, V., Minin, A. Di, Giones, F., Hakala, H., Marullo, C., Mention, A.-L., Mortara, L., Nørskov, S., Nylund, P.A., Oddo, C.M., Radziwon, A., Ritala, P., 2022. Digital transformation, for better or worse: a critical multi-level research agenda. R&D Manag. 1–25.

Durand, R., Grant, R.M., Madsen, T.L., 2017. The expanding domain of strategic management research and the quest forn integration. Strateg. Manag. J. 38, 4–16.

Felin, T., Foss, N., Ployhart, R., 2015. The microfoundations movement in strategy and organization theory. Acad. Manag. Ann. 9, 575–632.

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. J. Manag. Stud. 58, 1159–1197.

He, Q., Meadows, M., Angwin, D., Gomes, E., Child, J., 2020. Strategic alliance research in the era of digital transformation: Perspectives on future research. Br. J. Manag. 1–29.

Jacobides, M.G., Cennamo, C., Gawer, A., 2018. Towards a theory of ecosystems. Strateg. Manag. J. 39, 2255–2276.

Kohtamäki, M., Parida, V., Oghazi, P., Gebauer, H., Baines, T., 2019. Digital servitization business models in ecosystems: A theory of the firm. J. Bus. Res. 104, 380–392.

Kohtamäki, M., Whittington, R., Vaara, E., Rabetino, R., 2021. Making connections: Harnessing the diversity of strategy-as-practice research. Int. J. Manag. Rev. 24, 210–232.

Lanzolla, G., Lorenz, A., Miron-Spektor, E., Schilling, M., Solinas, G., Tucci, C.L., 2020. Digital transformation: What is new if anything? Emerging patterns and management research. Acad. Manag. Discov. 6, 341–350.

Leiblein, M.J., Reuer, J.J., 2020. Foundations and futures of strategic management. Strateg. Manag. Rev. 1, 1–33.

Makadok, R., Burton, R., Barney, J., 2018. A practical guide for making theory contributions in strategic management. Strateg. Manag. J. 39, 1530–1545.

Rabetino, R., Kohtamäki, M., Federico, J.S., 2021. A (Re)view of the Philosophical Foundations of Strategic Management. Int. J. Manag. Rev. 23, 151–190.

Ritala, P., Baiyere, A., Hughes, M., Kraus, S., 2021. Digital strategy implementation: The role of individual entrepreneurial orientation and relational capital. Technol. Forecast. Soc. Change 171, 120961.

Smith, W.K., Lewis, M.W., 2011. Toward a theory of paradox: A dynamic equilibrium model of organizing. Acad. Manag. Rev. 36, 381–403.

Volberda, H.W., Khanagha, S., Baden-Fuller, C., Mihalache, O.R., Birkinshaw, J., 2021. Strategizing in a digital world: Overcoming cognitive barriers, reconfiguring routines and introducing new organizational forms. Long Range Plann. 54, 102110.

Zott, C., Amit, R., Massa, L., 2011. The business model: Recent developments and future research. J. Manage. 37, 1019–1042.