UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose


Four scenarios for digital transformation: a neo-Schumpeterian perspective

12 April 2021, 3:30 pm–5:00 pm


Join us for this IIPP Seminar Series talk where Dr Zlatko Bodrožić (University of Leeds) will talk about his research (co-authored with Prof Paul Adler, University of Southern California) on the future trajectory of the digital transformation. Followed by questions from the audience.

This event is free.

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There is considerable uncertainty regarding the future trajectory of the digital transformation, and to understand and bound that uncertainty, our study builds on the work of neo-Schumpeterians (e.g. Perez 2002). In this perspective, such trajectories are shaped primarily by the interaction of forces in three loosely-coupled spheres—technology, organisation, and public policy. We extend this neo-Schumpeterian perspective by building on Hughes’ notion of reverse salient (RS), which we define as a feature of the technology, organization, or public policy spheres that is holding back the further development of the new technologies and their wider deployment.

We argue that the digital transformation portends a new phase—deployment—in the wider arc of the ICT revolution, and that the path of this deployment will depend on the choices made in overcoming the RSs in the organizational (see Bodrožić and Adler 2018) and public policy (Mazzucato 2021) spheres. Combining the two pairs of alternative resolutions of these RSs, we identify four scenarios for the future trajectory of the digital transformation: digital authoritarianism (e.g. Lanchester 2019), digital oligarchy (e.g. Zuboff 2019), digital localism (e.g. Morozov and Bria 2018), and digital democracy (e.g. Mazzucato 2015).

Background material linked to this seminar

Read more about the IIPP seminar series 2020-2021

About the Speaker

Dr Zlatko Bodrožić

Lecturer in Technology, Organisation and Sustainability at University of Leeds

Dr. Zlatko Bodrožić is a Lecturer in Technology, Organisation and Sustainability at the University of Leeds. As in his dissertation on the evolution of organisational change interventions (University of Helsinki), his work prioritises the combination of theory and  practice.  At the European Group of Organizational Studies conferences (2021-2024), Zlatko acts as co-coordinator of the Standing Working Group "Organization Studies in the Anthropocene: System Change, not Climate Change".

At the University of Leeds, Zlatko is co-leader of the new cross-divisional LESS research group that explores system-level sustainability. Zlatko's research focuses on the evolution of technologies, organisational paradigms/management models, and public policy (see for example Administrative Science Quarterly, March 2018). In particular, he is interested in digital transformation and the sustainability of societies.

More about Dr Zlatko Bodrožić