Charles Galunic, Professor of Organisational Behaviour, on the organisational and leadership implications of digitisation

Charles Galunic, Professor of Organisational Behaviour and The Aviva Chaired Professor of Leadership and Responsibility

Digitisation has vastly different implications for company strategy and value chain. To some, it’s an existential threat. To others, it’s a natural next step in the evolution of their product and service offerings. But to all it is likely to have significant long-term implications for their organisational and leadership models, requiring more attention to data analytics, innovation routines, internal and external networks, self-managing teams, hybrid organizational forms and more. 

“In fact, why some companies may experience digitalisation as an existential threat while others as an unfolding of their business development may have much to do with how they are developing their organisations,” says Charles Galunic whose research explores the social fabric of innovation and change. “The trouble is that we know too little about what that future model(s) will look like. It’s a little bit like being in the early days of the industrial revolution, some two hundred years ago, when firms were figuring out how to embed the new production tools at their disposable.”

To understand digitisation, Charles is tracking the journeys of digitising firms. His research focuses on the organizational consequences of digitisation: What does it mean for skills and roles? What does it mean for structures and processes? What does it mean for leadership and culture? 

 “The basic goal is to look into the stories and experiences of managers and companies who are ‘digitising’ and learn from their successes and failures,” Charles remarked. “It doesn’t mean capturing some ‘final state,’ some finished model for the ultimate digital organization.” He explains that many alternatives are likely to co-exist happily, and yet those alternatives are also likely to have some commonality, some elements that are shared and novel, or represent a novel way of interpreting traditional management practices. The aim is to capture those essential elements of digitising firms and help leaders and companies cope with the fast-evolving digital times.

Charles has been a pioneer of several courses at INSEAD and has won awards for his work in Executive Education and his case studies. 

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