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Digital Transformations


Admission requirements

Students need to have an affinity with basic business and management concepts.


Digital technologies, digitalization, and digitization represent the fundamental technological developments of our time (like steam-engine to the industrial revolution). The World Economic Forum recognizes digital technological advancements as the main force of the current industrial revolution. As digital technologies such as Cloud technology, AI, IoT, and more recently Blockchain unfold, traditional industries converge (e.g., telecom, information, media, and entertainment, financial sectors) and new types of markets become more popular (e.g., multi-sided markets). New competitive landscapes––created by challengers/start-ups and driven by digital––call for a strategic response of established business players. Established companies change their organizational and managerial approaches, particularly regarding design, inter-firm collaborations, and business models. Addressing developments made by digital, in this course, we will deal with the questions of how companies embrace such a transformation through implementing a portfolio of strategies. These strategies include re-organizing businesses, engaging in new business eco-systems, monitoring and building relationships with start-ups, and so forth. Cases from the real world in finance, telecommunication, IT, media, and entertainment, and health industries will be discussed in the course.

Course objectives

The primary objective of this course is to provide students with the knowledge and skills to analyze various organizational and management dimensions of digital transformation in businesses. We seek to meet this objective by enhancing students’ understanding of different cases of digital technologies. At the end of this course, students are expected to be able to:

  • explain why and how some companies survive digital transformation, while others do not;

  • understand how challengers/start-ups play a role in shaping the new competitive landscape for established companies;

  • discuss the effect of digital technologies’ characteristics on firm strategy;

  • evaluate the effects of organizational elements including management, business models, ecosystem, identity, and design on companies’ digital transformations;

  • design strategies for incumbents to take advantage of digital transformation, for example creating/joining platforms, on the basis of relevant theories and case studies.


The schedule can be found on the Leiden University SBB website

Detailed table of contents can be found on uSis.

Mode of instruction

This course consists of 6 interactive lectures, two tutoring sessions, and two seminars. Students prepare for each class by reading papers and cases of each lecture, so that they can participate in discussions around the topic of the lecture. In tutoring sessions, students will receive guidance on how to complete their group assignment. In the seminars, the students will present their group assignments to the class.

Assessment method

We evaluate students based on their individual and group assignments’ quality as well as their participation in lectures. Two individual assignments and one group assignment are designed for this course. The deadlines and further instructions of the assignments will be communicated to the registered students before the start of the course. The weights of the assignments in the final evaluation are 50 % for the individual assignments, 40% for the group assignment, and 10% for participation in the lectures.
This course has neither a final nor a re-take exam.

Reading list

Example readings:
Fitzgerald, M., Kruschwitz, N., Bonnet, D., & Welch, M. (2014). Embracing digital
technology: A new strategic imperative. MIT Sloan Management Review, 55(2): 1-12.

Furr, N., & Shipilov, A. (2019). Digital doesn’t have to be disruptive: the best results can
come from adaptation rather than reinvention. Harvard Business Review, 97(4): 94-103.

Matt, C., Hess, T., & Benlian, A. (2015). Digital transformation strategies. Business &
Information Systems Engineering, 5(5): 339-343.

Schallmo, D., Williams, C.A., & Boardman, L. (2017). Digital transformation of business
models-best practice, enablers and roadmap. Journal of Innovation Management, 21(8):
1740014-1 – 1740014-17.

A complete reading list will be shared with the students that register for this course before the course starts.


You have to take two steps:
1. Fill in this link;
2. Sign up for classes and examinations (including resits) in uSis (in time).

There is only limited capacity for external students. Please contact the programme Co-ordinator.


For all your questions you can contact info@sbb.leidenuniv.nl

Note: If you are an ICTiBPS student, you can contact the programme coordinator of ICTiBPS for any questions about your program.


Students need to attend all lectures and seminars (not necessarily the tutoring sessions) to be able to pass this course.

  • Students are responsible for enrolling/unenrolling themselves for (partial) exams/retakes.

  • Students are responsible for enrolling themselves for (partial) exams/retakes.

  • The deadline for enrolling for an exam/retake is 10 calendar days before the exam/retake takes place (exam date - 10 = deadline enrolling date).

  • Students who do not enroll themselves for an exam/retake by the deadline are not allowed to take the exam/retake.

  • Students fail the course if any of the components that make up the final mark of the course is assessed below 5.0.

  • The final grade is expressed as a whole or half number between 1.0 and 10.0, including both limits. The result is not to be expressed as a number between 5.0 and 6.0.

  • If one of the components of the final mark constitutes a component that assesses attendance or class participation, students cannot take a retake for this component. Therefore, students fail the course if their mark for this component is less than 5.0.

  • It is not possible to do retakes for group assignments. Therefore, if students fail the group assignment component, they fail the course.

  • Students pass the course if the final mark is 6.0 or higher (5.49 will rounded down to a 5 and a 5.5 will be rounded up to a 6.0).

  • For courses, for which class participation is an assessment component, students may not be penalised for an absence if the student has a legitimate justification for this absence. The student must notify the program coordinator via email (info@sbb.leidenuniv.nl) of such an absence BEFORE the lecture, describing the reason for missing the lecture. If the student does not notify the program coordinator before the lecture, the student will be penalised. Students may be required to provide further documentation to substantiate their case, and class attendance requirements are only waived under exceptional circumstances such as illness.

  • Students who are entitled to more exam/retake time must report to info@sbb.leidenuniv.nl 10 days before the exam/retake takes place.