Crisis-driven digital transformation: Examining the online university triggered by COVID-19

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingArticle in proceedingResearchpeer-review


The Covid-19 pandemic has major negative consequences for health and economy. At the same time, the crisis paves the way for innovation. In the university sector, societal measures implemented to curb the spread of Covid19 have made all teaching activities 100% digital, in effect creating the online university overnight. In this paper, we present an empirical account of this extreme situation. Based on an explorative case study of how it was possible for the social science faculty at a Danish university to undergo accelerated digital transformation, we identify three salient themes that capture the immediate organizational response: (1) leveraging existing resources, (2) intensified communication and (3) re-organizing core activities. We contribute with preliminary empirical insights into the practicalities of accelerating digital transformation, especially the importance of mobilizing the organization’s existing resources and knowledge as well as the organizational actors’ helpfulness and willingness to share, learn, innovate and self-organize. Theoretically, we propose and substantiate the concept of accelerated digital transformation and present a model that summarizes the identified themes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLUT Scientific and Expertise Publications
Number of pages12
Publication date7 Jun 2020
ISBN (Electronic)978-952-335-466-1
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jun 2020
EventISPIM innovation conference: Innovating in Times of Crisis - Virtual Event
Duration: 7 Jun 202010 Jun 2020
Conference number: 31


ConferenceISPIM innovation conference
LocationVirtual Event

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