Insights from history on the parallel digital & sustainable transitions


Consensus has built on the need for a sustainable and digital transition of industries to happen in parallel. Sustainability may come from electrification of currently carbon-reliant activities, while digitalisation promises to augment and enhance the abilities of humans. Yet literature suggests a complex relationship between the interconnected social and technical systems that must co-evolve to deliver these transitions, as well as the likely impossibility of their top-down control. Insights may be derived from the first wave of electrification that began over a century ago. In particular, we develop the wave metaphor by focusing on the less visible undercurrents that feed waves and transitions. Based on a systematic review of historical transitions, the paper identifies international cases of electrification and examines factors that could explain past and inform future practice. In particular, it suggests that the transition from ownership to access may be an important but underdeveloped factor.

Divisions: College of Business and Social Sciences > Aston Business School > Operations & Information Management
College of Business and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences & Humanities > Politics, History and International Relations
College of Business and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences & Humanities
Additional Information: © 2023 The Authors
Event Title: British Academy of Management Annual Conference
Event Type: Other
Event Location: University of Sussex
Event Dates: 2023-09-01 - 2023-09-06
Uncontrolled Keywords: SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure,SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
Last Modified: 27 Jun 2024 12:03
Date Deposited: 18 Oct 2023 13:06
PURE Output Type: Paper
Published Date: 2023
Authors: Beltagui, Ahmad (ORCID Profile 0000-0003-2687-0971)
Sudlow, Brian (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-9939-6986)
Yang, Miying



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