Insights from history on the parallel digital & sustainable transitions

Research output: Unpublished contribution to conferenceUnpublished Conference Paperpeer-review


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.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2023
EventBritish Academy of Management Annual Conference - University of Sussex, Brighton, United Kingdom
Duration: 1 Sept 20236 Sept 2023


ConferenceBritish Academy of Management Annual Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom

Bibliographical note

© 2023 The Authors


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