PhD Defence Wendy Günther

Gunther, Wendy
Information & Innovation Management

Dissertation title
Data as Strategic Resources: Studies on How Organizations Explore the Strategic Opportunities of Data

Date and location
October 15, 2019 at 11:45 in the Aula of the Main Building of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Data as Strategic Resources: Studies on How Organizations Explore the Strategic Opportunities of Data
Günther, WendyThis dissertation provides the groundwork for theories on how organizations can effectively leverage data as strategic resources. I performed three studies to understand how organizations explore the strategic opportunities of data. First, I conducted a systematic literature review to identify key choices that organizations face when they try to realize value from data. I present six debates that are central to data-driven value realization, and formalize two features of big data that influence such value realization: portability and interconnectivity. Second, I conducted an in-depth case study to understand how data can influence strategic choices and actions. I highlight the need to treat data as dissimilar, contextual, and dynamic resources, and explicate two tensions concerning the role of data in data-driven strategizing. Finally, I analyzed job ads for senior manager positions to gain insights into the expected responsibilities and positions of “data analytics leaders”. I present four responsibilities that characterize data analytics leadership and explicate which positions are typically responsible for providing such leadership. Based on the findings from my studies, I concur that while data are becoming strategic resources, we should not be overly optimistic about the strategic opportunities of data. The insights from this dissertation present several learning opportunities for both scholars and practitioners.

About the author
Wendy obtained her bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from the University of Amsterdam in 2012. As she became more interested in the way IT is used within organizations, she decided to pursue the master ICT in Business at Leiden University. Upon completion of this master, she began her academic career as a PhD candidate as part of the KIN Research Group at the Vrije Universiteit in 2014. Wendy’s research focuses on how organizations can successfully leverage data as strategic resources. This includes studying how organizations develop and implement data-driven strategies; how traditional organizations transform into data-driven organizations, and what new roles and responsibilities emerge as organizations try to realize social and economic value from (big) data.