Accelerated Digital Transformation: The Case of The Online University Caused By Covid-19

Sabine Madsen*, Christian Ravn Haslam, Jeppe Agger Nielsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference article in JournalResearchpeer-review


In this article, we propose the concept of accelerated digital transformation. The Covid-19 pandemic constitutes an appealing case for this endeavor since it has caused organizations to undergo unexpected, fast-paced transformation to cope with the extraordinary situation. While current literature tends to illustrate the digital transformation journey based on high-profile cases such as Netflix and Amazon, we turn to more mundane organizational settings with an empirical focus on higher education. Based on a qualitative case study of how a social science faculty at a Danish university changed from analog to full digital teaching overnight, we identify three salient themes that capture how accelerated digital transformation became possible. We observed how the faculty (1) leveraged existing resources rather than disruptive technologies, (2) intensified informal knowledge sharing in combination with supportive top-down communication, and (3) re-organized core activities through experimentation rather than based on strategic plans. Major changes enabled by digital technologies are typically associated with a long-term change process through certain stages. Our conceptualization focuses on how the initial stage of the digital transformation process can be accelerated.
Original languageEnglish
JournalIRIS: Selected Papers of the Information Systems Research Seminar in Scandinavia
Issue number11
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventIRIS/SCIS Conference 2020 - Online / Virtual , Sundsvall, Sweden
Duration: 9 Aug 202012 Aug 2020


ConferenceIRIS/SCIS Conference 2020
LocationOnline / Virtual
Internet address


Dive into the research topics of 'Accelerated Digital Transformation: The Case of The Online University Caused By Covid-19'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this