Hybrid organizational forms in public sector’s digital transformation: a technology enactment approach

Benjamin Faro, Babak Abedin, Dilek Cetindamar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine how public sector organizations become nimbler while retaining their resilience during digital transformation.

Design/methodology/approach: The study adopts a hermeneutic approach in conducting deep expert interviews with 22 senior executives and managers of multiple organizations. The method blends theory and expert views to study digital transformation in the context of enterprise information management.

Findings: Drawing on technology enactment framework (TEF), this research poses that organizational form is critical in the enactment of technologies in digital transformation. By extending the TEF, the authors claim that organizations are not in pure bureaucratic or network organizational form during digital transformation; instead, they need a hybrid combination in order to support competing strategic needs for nimbleness and resilience simultaneously. The four hybrid organizational forms presented in this model (4R) allow for networks and bureaucracy to coexist, though at different levels depending on the level of resiliency and nimbleness required at each point in the continuous digital transformation journey.

Research limitations/implications: The main theoretical contribution of this research is to extend the TEF to illustrate that the need for coexistence of nimbleness with stability in a digital transformation results in a hybrid of networks and bureaucratic organization forms. This research aims to guide public sector organizations' digital transformation with extended the TEF as a tool for building the required organizational forms to influence the technology enactment to best meet their strategic needs in the digital era.

Practical implications: The results from expert interviews point to the fact that the hybrid organizational forms create a multi-modal organization, extending the understanding of enterprise information management. Depending on the department or business needs, a hybrid organizational form mode would be dominant. This dominance creates a paradox in organizations to handle both resilience and nimbleness. Therefore, the 4R model is provided as a guide to public sector managers and consultants to guide strutting their organization for digital transformation.

Originality/value: The model (4R), the extended TEF, shows that organizations still work towards networks and bureaucracy; however, they are not two distinct concepts anymore; they coexist at different levels in hybrid forms depending on the needs of the organization.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1742-1763
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Enterprise Information Management
Issue number6
Early online date19 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - 24 Nov 2022


  • Digital transformation
  • Digitalization
  • Digitization
  • E-government
  • Public sector digital transformation
  • T-government
  • Transformational government


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