Document Type : Research Paper


1 PhD Student of Public Administration, Allameh Tabataba’i University, Tehran, Iran

2 Professor of Public Administration Department, Allameh Tabataba'i University, Tehran, Iran

3 Associate Professor, Department of Public Administration, Allameh Tabatabai University, Tehran, Iran

4 Associate Professor, Department of Industrial Management, Allameh Tabataba'i University, Tehran, Iran


In today's digital world, organizations are looking for changes in appearance, thinking, and performance to remain competitive. Digital transformation is a tremendous transformation that cannot be avoided, and organizations must prepare themselves to face it. This research aims to identify the soft components of digital transformation that are very important and vital and to design the resulting model. The statistical population of this research in the first part was the existing articles in this field, which were selected by purposeful sampling. In the second part, the statistical population was formed by the managers and experts of the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, and 14 people were selected by the purposeful sampling method and through the snowball method. The tool used in this study was MAXQDA software. First, using the theme analysis of the background of the research, the desired components were extracted and used in the design of semi-structured interview questions. The research findings identified six overarching themes, 44 organizing themes, and 185 basic themes of soft digital transformation, and the resulting network of themes has been drawn.
Over the past few decades, global industries have faced technological changes that, in addition to creating opportunities such as greater flexibility, reactivity, and product customization, have created various challenges such as change. Fast technology has also increased complexity and changed customer expectations and legal requirements (Rachinger et al., 2018). Digital transformation injects digital technology into all aspects of an organization, including its business processes and culture (Techbeacon, 2020). Transformation in the digital age is not related to technology alone and is more related to organizational agility. This means that organizational culture plays a fundamental role in the digital transformation of businesses (Shirazi et al., 2021). In response to the question of why digital transformation has become a necessity in today's world, it is enough to mention that the implementation of digital transformation can guarantee the organization's survival or, in a better case, stabilize the organization's market share.
Moreover, it can increase organizations' market share and profit margin ideally. Therefore, the issue of digital transformation is the issue of survival and life. Digital transformation is of undeniable importance for organizations in today's world. Most of the research carried out in the field of digital transformation has either dealt with the issue of digital transformation in general and especially the hard part of it, which is related to the technology and infrastructure of this transformation, or separately and not in a single research. have examined the soft components of digital transformation; Therefore, there is no comprehensive research that specifically deals with the soft part of digital transformation; The scientific gap felt by the researchers of this research was, and the purpose of the current research is to identify the soft components of digital transformation using the opinions of experts from the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and the lack of a comprehensive framework for the soft part of digital transformation. Conceptual framework design is the result of them.
Research Questions

What are the soft components of digital transformation in the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology?
What is the conceptual framework for the soft components of digital transformation using the opinions of experts from the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology?

 Literature Review
 Theoretical foundations of research
Digital transformation: To avoid making a mistake in the definition of digital transformation, we must note that digital transformation should not be considered a magic bean that grows quickly and results beyond expectations in a short period (Shami Zanjani, 2017). In some cases, a superficial understanding of the nature of digital transformation reduces it to technological changes, and the deep processes of activity structure transformation are ignored (Rabinovich et al., 2020). Digital transformation is an endless change and is not similar to projects such as the electronicization an organization's processes Because these projects will end. However, digital transformation is a continuous improvement in the organization's processes, products, and services (Hosseini-Nasab et al., 2021).
Soft components of digital transformation: Digital transformation consists of two complex parts (technology, infrastructure, Etc.) and soft (people, culture, Etc.). Digital transformation is not only about the implementation of information technology solutions but it should be seen in a broader context as "organizational change," "cultural transformation," and "moving towards a customer-oriented approach" (Verina. & Titko, 2019). Digitization and digitization are fundamentally related to technology, but digital transformation is not (Bloomberg, 2018). Digital transformation can be defined as a cultural, organizational, and operational change in the organization through the intelligent integration of digital technologies, processes, and competencies step by step in all functions and at every level with a strategic approach (Tonina Yaneva, 2022). Digital transformation does not mean decorating the organization with new technologies. However, digital transformation also includes people and culture, and neglecting them causes digital transformation not to be appropriately implemented and its benefits. It will not be given to organizations (Rislana Kanya, 2020). Therefore, the soft part of digital transformation includes everything related to humans. The degree of success of companies in recognizing and considering the influence of culture determines whether cultural factors act as supporting or opposing forces for the organization's digital transformation (Tuukkanen et al., 2022).
 Empirical foundations of research
Much research has been conducted in the field of digital transformation. The subject of the present research, which is to identify the soft components of digital transformation and present the model resulting from them, has been investigated and analyzed, such as the research done by Shirazi et al. (2021), with the title of presenting a roadmap for the implementation of the organizational culture required for digital transformation with a hybrid approach, the findings of the research showed that the roadmap for implementing the organizational culture for digital transformation includes three layers of infrastructure. It includes four primary categories, the layer of cultural processes includes three main categories, and the layer of goals includes six main categories. The research conducted by Konopik et al. (2022), titled Mastering Digital Transformation through Organizational Capabilities: A Conceptual Framework. This research led to organizational identifications for digital transformation, including strategy and ecosystem, innovation thinking, digital transformation technologies, data, operations, organizational design, and digital transformation leadership.
In terms of its purpose, this research is considered a developmental-applied type of study. It was conducted with the qualitative thematic analysis method in both parts of the analysis (research background and interview). The software used in this research was MAXQDA2020. The statistical population of this research is divided into two parts. At first, the studies and research conducted around the research subject were collected and examined. The statistical population of the interview section of the research consisted of managers, experts, and employees of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology of Iran who were familiar with the field of digital transformation. Sampling in both sections was purposeful and judgmental.
The results of the theme analysis of the investigated research, based on the frequency of the codes, showed that the resulting soft digital transformation model consists of 4 comprehensive themes of culture, organization manager, digital leader, and skills, 21 organizing themes, and 116 basic themes. In the analysis of the theme of the background of the research, four overarching themes were identified with the names of the organization manager, digital leadership, culture, and skills, along with their organizing and basic themes. In the theme analysis section of the interviews, the results included 185 basic themes, 44 organizing themes, and six comprehensive themes, including culture, organizational manager, digital leader, human capital, digital innovation, and digital strategy..
By comparing the theme analysis in two parts (research background and interview with experts), it can be seen that in the interview with experts, the overarching themes of organization manager, digital leadership, and culture remained unchanged, and only the themes of the organizer and their base had changed; The overarching theme of skills was removed and replaced by the overarching theme of human capital, and finally, the overarching themes of digital innovation and digital strategy were added.
Digital transformation is not only buying new digital technologies and equipping the organization with them; digital transformation means the organization's complete transformation. In this process, they must change from the organization's thinking to the duties of individual employees. Digital transformation is not an isolated effort but a set of actions that must be appropriately managed and coordinated. One of the most important influencing parameters in the success of digital transformation is digital culture. The degree of success of companies in recognizing and considering the influence of culture determines whether cultural factors act as supporting or opposing forces for the organization's digital transformation.
Along with the importance of digital culture for organizations that seek to achieve digital transformation, it is very important to pay attention to human capital. The key element in the success of digital transformation is the people who lead, accept, and implement this transformation, that is, the organization's human capital (Haydn Shaughnessy, 2018). How to carry out digital transformation is one of the challenging tasks of senior management of organizations (Mahmood et al., 2019). The turbulent and constantly changing digital environment forces managers to adopt decisions and strategies significantly faster than necessary (Nadkarni & Prügl, 2020). Several studies have also defined digital leadership as a critical skill that leaders must possess to carry out digital transformation. Digital leadership is a fast-paced, collaborative, and team-oriented approach with a strong focus on innovation, where a digital leader can use new methods and tools to solve complex problems and maintain business continuity (Oberer & Erkollar, 2018). The starting point of digital transformation is a digital business strategy that aims to create differential value using digital resources in composition and implementation (Goerzig & Bauernhansl, 2018). Therefore, digital transformation is driven by strategy, not technology (Bumann & Peter, 2019). Today's competitive world is a world of innovations that have come into existence with the help of new digital technologies. Digital transformation requires a change of focus and includes innovation in technology and modification of institutional culture to ensure the evolution of digital transformation (Abad-Segura et al., 2020). For highly digital organizations, understanding and managing digital innovations is of particular importance.


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