Submit a Manuscript to the Journal

Asia Pacific Business Review

For a Special Issue on

Digital transformation: Entrepreneurship, innovation, global rifts and sustainability

Abstract deadline
30 September 2024

Manuscript deadline
31 January 2025

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Special Issue Editor(s)

Chris Rowley, Kellogg College, Oxford University, UK
[email protected]

Ingyu Oh, , College of Global Engagement, Kansai Gaidai University, Osaka, Japan
[email protected]

Bradley R. Barnes, Department of Marketing & International Business, Lingnan University, Hong Kong
[email protected]

Geng Cui, Faculty of Business, Lingnan University, Hong Kong
[email protected]

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Digital transformation: Entrepreneurship, innovation, global rifts and sustainability

The digital economy can be defined narrowly as online platforms and activities that depend on such platforms. However, a broader definition includes all activities that use digitized data. According to the World Bank, the digital economy accounts for over 15% of global GDP as of 2023. It has grown 2.5 times faster over the previous decade than the overall GDP. The US is the worldwide leader in the digital economy, followed by China, India, the UK, Germany and Korea, according to an Indian government report. The digital economy is expected to grow exponentially over the next decades due to advancements in IoT, AI, VR/AR, blockchain and autonomous vehicle technologies. This will accomplish what is referred to as the Fourth Industrial Revolution or the digital transformation.

As we navigate the Fourth Industrial Revolution, it is crucial to reflect on the past. One of our guest editors once referred to digitization as a ‘mad technology’, closely tied to the global frenzy of ‘mad’ money (Strange 1998; Oh et al. 2005). This pursuit of digital transformation, often accompanied by the pursuit of wealth, has led to financial and technological disasters and environmental catastrophes. The Fourth Industrial Revolution has played a significant role in these global financial crises, starting with the Asian financial crisis of 1997. The developed world was unprepared and vulnerable to these financial meltdowns that had occurred in a chain reaction. The wired platform-based global financial transactions were the root cause of these global financial rifts.

Nonetheless, the advancements in digital technology have led to the emergence of numerous innovative tech startups that have revolutionized our way of living. These developments were unimaginable in the previous century (Nambisan 2017; Sahut et al. 2021; Shan et al. 2021). Technology integration in entrepreneurship has opened up new opportunities and possibilities, creating a new world. It is, therefore, essential to evaluate how these technological changes will affect global business management, innovation systems and entrepreneurship in the following decades (Plekhanov et al., 2023).

Furthermore, myriad experts have expressed concerns about the potential negative impact of digital technology, such as the domination of AI in human society, the exploitation of the earth leading to natural disasters and the unpredictable nature of disruptive innovation from AI (Füller et al., 2022). Industries are shifting towards high-quality, eco-friendly, intelligent knowledge clusters to avoid these dystopian outcomes. This shift has resulted in a convergence of different sectors, which will impact the industrial value chain and the existing innovation and entrepreneurial ecology (Sussan and Acs 2017; Bejjani et al. 2023). Future innovations must develop sustainable solutions to resolve the various stakeholder concerns and conflicts.

Given the complexity of these challenges, we are reaching out to scholars to contribute their advanced insights to a special issue. Specifically, we seek empirical evidence from firms in the Asia Pacific region. We welcome both theoretical and empirical studies, as well as literature review essays. The following topics are of particular interest but are not limited to:

  • How do specific digital technologies (e.g., AI, blockchain, IoT) impact different stages of the entrepreneurial process, from opportunity recognition to scaling? What are each technology's unique affordances and constraints?
  • What new entrepreneurial capabilities are required to leverage digital technologies effectively? How can these be developed?
  • What new digital business models are emerging, and how do they differ from traditional models in value proposition, value creation and capture?
  • How do digital business models evolve over time, and what factors drive model innovation? What role do digital platforms play in enabling new models?
  • How are digital technologies transforming entrepreneurial ecosystems? What new actors, interactions and dynamics are emerging?
  • What is the role of policy and regulation in shaping digital entrepreneurial ecosystems? How can policymakers foster inclusive and sustainable digital entrepreneurship?
  • How does digital innovation enable and accelerate sustainable entrepreneurship? For example, how do digital platforms, big data analytics and AI help sustainable startups to identify opportunities, engage stakeholders and scale impact?
  • What are the unique challenges and barriers that sustainable entrepreneurs face in leveraging digital technologies? How can these be overcome?
  • Do digital-native companies have better or worse ESG performance than traditional firms? What factors drive ESG in digital businesses?
  • What new financial instruments and investment strategies are emerging to fund sustainable digital ventures? How effective are they?
  • How can digital tools and platforms improve access to capital for underserved sustainable entrepreneurs?
  • What skills, mindsets and organizational cultures enable digital companies to innovate for sustainability? How can these be cultivated?
  • How are digital native companies adapting traditional HR practices like recruiting, learning and performance management to attract and retain sustainability-minded talent?
  • What role can digital tools play in fostering more sustainable employee behaviours and engagement with sustainability?

All papers will be reviewed using the APBR's normal review processes. Manuscripts should be formatted according to the APBR publication guidelines and have all the required content and structure—please review the website.

Submission Instructions

  • Abstracts (250 words) with short bios are due Sep. 30, 2024. Please submit abstracts to: [email protected].
  • Acceptance and invitation to SI submission: Oct. 5, 2024
  • Submit PowerPoint slides for presentation: Nov. 15, 2024
  • Paper development workshop at the School of Business, Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, Guangzhou, China: Dec. 4-6, 2024
  • Submission of full papers: Jan. 31, 2025
  • 1st review results: Feb. 28, 2025
  • 2nd review results: Mar. 31, 2025
  • Publication of accepted papers online from May. 1, 2025

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