PhD Defence by Matthias F.G. Trischler: "DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION OF BUSINESS MODELS New insights into a contemporary organizational change process"

Matthias F.G. Trischler will defend his PhD project "Digital transformation of business models. New insights into a contemporary organizational change process".


The pervasive nature of digital transformation requires established firms to rethink their existing business models fundamentally and fully exploit digital technologies’ transformative potential to explore, develop, and implement digital business model innovations. However, recent studies indicate that incumbents often struggle in their digital transformation efforts and that digital business model innovations often are viewed as the riskiest and most difficult part of digital transformation.

Academia potentially has much to offer to help managers with the digital transformation of their firms’ business models, but from an academic perspective, research on digital business model innovations remains in its infancy, with the phenomenon still poorly understood. Thus, leading researchers have proposed disaggregating the process of business models’ digital transformation into more tractable stages to gain deeper and more specific knowledge of how firms can achieve digital business model innovations. Therefore, this Ph.D. thesis has adopted an organizational change process lens that covers three stages—readiness, adoption, and implementation—to provide new theoretical and practical insights into business models’ digital transformation.

This Ph.D. thesis comprises four core articles. Article A provides a review of the recent digital business model innovation literature and puts forth a novel definition of the construct. Article B addresses the issue of digital readiness, presenting a theoretically grounded, multi-dimensional digital readiness construct and demonstrating the importance of two dimensions in particular: digital technology and digital strategy. To show how some firms adopt digital changes, Article C reports from a study on digital innovation units, finding that leaders need to initiate and manage the dynamism inherent within these units to avoid critical growth traps that put these units’ efforts at risk. Concerning implementation, Article D focuses on a specific scenario—the implementation of a digital platform strategy. It introduces and defines the new digital platform tactics concept and presents a framework that includes a temporal and a scope dimension that can guide platform operators in their implementation activities.

Overall, this Ph.D. thesis helps create a better understanding of digital business model innovation. Theoretically, it helps increase construct clarity, proposes conceptual frameworks, and disaggregates the organizational change process into three stages. Practically, this project contributes by deriving managerial implications that offer guidance for practitioners on how to achieve digital business model innovation.

Key words: Digital transformation; digital business model innovation; organizational change

Principal supervisor

Professor Jason Li-Ying, DTU


Professor Per Bækgaard, DTU


Associate Professor Francesco Rosati, DTU Entrepreneurship
Professor Wim Vanhaverbeke, University of Antwerp
Associate Professor Yuliya Snihur, Toulouse Business School

Chair person at defence

Director, Professor Jes Broeng, DTU

A copy of the PhD thesis is available for reading at DTU Entrepreneurship,371, 2nd floor, Diplomvej, DK-2800 Kgs Lyngby. 




fre 23 sep 22
13:00 - 16:00



DTU, Technical University of Denmark
Building 341, auditorium 22
DK-2800 Kgs. Lyngby