Purpose – Digital transformation has had controversial impacts on the way small retailers and stakeholders interact, make decisions, and jointly create value while also transforming the nature of relationships. This paper examines the enabling factors of digital transformation in the small retailers’ context through the lens of stakeholder theory, deepening the knowledge about the implications of such transformations imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Design/methodology/approach – The authors employed a mixed methodology based on a single case study, semi-structured interviews, focus groups and a survey to illustrate the dynamics behind and the impacts of the development of a digital platform created to support the commercial activity of 100 small retailer entrepreneurs located in Italy during the 2020 lockdowns. The platform has been developed in partnership with public and private local stakeholders with different degrees of involvement in the project. Findings – The authors demonstrated that stakeholder relationships based on trust, engagement and empowerment are enablers of digital transformation in entrepreneurial contexts based on analogic relationships and communal sharing relational models. The authors also outlined the implications of empowerment and digital contamination among small retailers. Originality/value – The authors’ findings foster the understanding of digital transformation in small entrepreneurial contexts by highlighting the potential of digital transformation as a powerful bridge between the urgent call for digitalisation and the maintenance of valuable relationships with customers by small retailer entrepreneurs, supporting the creation of entrepreneurial ecosystems.

Digital transformation or analogic relationships? A dilemma for small retailer entrepreneurs and its resolution

Candelo, Elena;Casalegno, Cecilia Giuliana;Civera, Chiara
2021-01-01

Abstract

Purpose – Digital transformation has had controversial impacts on the way small retailers and stakeholders interact, make decisions, and jointly create value while also transforming the nature of relationships. This paper examines the enabling factors of digital transformation in the small retailers’ context through the lens of stakeholder theory, deepening the knowledge about the implications of such transformations imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Design/methodology/approach – The authors employed a mixed methodology based on a single case study, semi-structured interviews, focus groups and a survey to illustrate the dynamics behind and the impacts of the development of a digital platform created to support the commercial activity of 100 small retailer entrepreneurs located in Italy during the 2020 lockdowns. The platform has been developed in partnership with public and private local stakeholders with different degrees of involvement in the project. Findings – The authors demonstrated that stakeholder relationships based on trust, engagement and empowerment are enablers of digital transformation in entrepreneurial contexts based on analogic relationships and communal sharing relational models. The authors also outlined the implications of empowerment and digital contamination among small retailers. Originality/value – The authors’ findings foster the understanding of digital transformation in small entrepreneurial contexts by highlighting the potential of digital transformation as a powerful bridge between the urgent call for digitalisation and the maintenance of valuable relationships with customers by small retailer entrepreneurs, supporting the creation of entrepreneurial ecosystems.
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https://www.emerald.com/insight/1755-425X.htm
Digital transformation, Stakeholder theory, Relationship-based view, Small retailers, Entrepreneurial ecosystems
Candelo, Elena; Casalegno, Cecilia Giuliana; Civera, Chiara
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2318/1790752
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