Business transformation in an age of turbulence – Lessons learned from COVID-19

Xishu Li*, Maarten Voorneveld, René de Koster

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
24 Downloads (Pure)


The COVID-19 pandemic has caused global economic turmoil. Although many companies have suffered huge losses, some have flourished by changing their old ways of doing business. We investigate the business transformation process under drastic market changes and time pressure, with a focus on decision speed and structure in the decision & planning phase, the implementation structure and monitoring in the implementation phase, and reinforcement after the implementation. Through case studies in a variety of industries, including manufacturing, e-commerce, and finance, we explore how companies in specific contexts have dealt with the above-mentioned critical factors when transforming their business during the pandemic, whether the experienced transformation processes differ from theory, and if so, how. The examples of business transformations cover eight categories, including work from home, the use of augmented reality, internet of things, and business model redesign. Our findings reveal how these transformations are perceived and evaluated by companies one year into the pandemic. In addition, we show how decision speed, structure of the decision-making process, structure of the implementation process, and scale of the implementation impact the completion time of the transformations. Based on our results, we provide suggestions to companies for an effective business transformation in times of crisis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number121452
JournalTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
Issue number121452
Early online date31 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

The authors gratefully acknowledge the editor in chief's detailed guidelines for the revision and the reviewers constructive comments for improving the article.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors


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