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Digital Technologies and Digital Transformation: Recent Progress and Present Challenges

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2022) | Viewed by 26134

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
The Faculty of Operation and Economics of Transport and Communications, University of Žilina, Univerzitná 8215, 010 026 Žilina, Slovakia
Interests: sustainable innovations systems; economics of networks; regional economics; localization theory; transfer technology
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Department of Communications, University of Zilina, 01026 Zilina, Slovakia
Interests: transportation planning; logistics; marketing; e-business; human-computer interaction; communication; IT infrastructure; network architecture
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Laboratory of NT and Distance Learning, School of Education, University of Ioannina, 451 10 Ioannina, Greece
Interests: ICT in education; learning theories in digital technologies; e-learning; digitalization in education
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

To do things that go beyond current needs and requirements: that’s what success means in today’s world. In a couple of years, it might be too late. Addressing new topics, tasks, talents, and their development requires courage, patience, a clear vision, and trust.

Current trends in digital transformation are based on technologies that have a major impact on customers’ behavior and on the ways that business transformation is conducted. In the 1990s, digital products and services were used only by the companies that were operating in selected industries such as music and entertainment and the development and sales of electronics. Digital infrastructure and digital products providers have laid the foundation for improving efficiency and productivity across multiple functional units of businesses, from finance to supply chain and human resource management. The turn of the millennium brought new services of electronic business and electronic commerce. The increasing use of the internet caused the increase in consumer demand for new digital products and services. Wide access to information and the opportunity to be online have led to a transformation of all sectors. Digital transformation applies to all businesses and sectors—what customers or consumers easily use in one sector also demand from another. Therefore, increased orientation of companies and organizations towards consumers and users is the result of the digital transformation.

A number of existing and new digital technologies play and will play a key role in the transformation of businesses and entire sectors of the national economy. The nature of some jobs is changing. This change will certainly continue in the future. New jobs will be created and therefore, in addition to employment developments, necessary skill levels to work with digital technologies need to be examined. Digital transformation also applies to products. In many cases, these products are provided free of charge and their value is not included in official statistics of measuring economic performance.

Finding the answer to a number of questions is the challenge for today. How can the potential of digital technologies affecting the economic subjects be explored? What methodological approach needs to be applied in order to explore the potential of the digital economy? What do the digital products have in common? What is their value? How is business productivity and performance changing? How are countries' GDPs changing as a result of digital transformation and the mass use of digital technologies? How to capture the impact of digital products, which are provided free of charge and which benefit people, in official measurements of indicators associated with the determination of the performance of national economies?

In order to address the present challenges and questions, we welcome studies, research results, and case studies as well as methodological papers that provide diverse approaches, experiences, and perspectives on the application of digital technologies and digital transformation processes in different geographical areas, sectors of the economy, and activities or processes.

Prof. Tatiana Čorejová
Prof. Ing. Radovan Madleňák
Prof. Jenny (Pagge) Pange
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • digital economy
  • technology
  • transformation
  • digitization
  • indices
  • impact
  • employment
  • product
  • enterprise
  • business models
  • e-learning
  • skills
  • competencies

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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21 pages, 1059 KiB  
Article
Study on the Impact and Mechanism of Industrial Internet Pilot on Digital Transformation of Manufacturing Enterprises
by Jianjia He and Xuchen Liu
Sustainability 2023, 15(10), 7872; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15107872 - 11 May 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1746
Abstract
In the era of digital economy, Industrial Internet is promoting the deep integration of manufacturing industry and the Internet through the new generation of information technology, which has become a new driving force to encourage the development of digital transformation of manufacturing enterprises. [...] Read more.
In the era of digital economy, Industrial Internet is promoting the deep integration of manufacturing industry and the Internet through the new generation of information technology, which has become a new driving force to encourage the development of digital transformation of manufacturing enterprises. In this paper, we use the China Industrial Internet Pilot Demonstration Project as a proposed natural experiment to assess the impact and mechanism of action of the Industrial Internet pilot on the digital transformation of manufacturing enterprises using score propensity matching and double-difference methods based on panel data of annual reports of manufacturing listed companies from 2012 to 2020. The empirical results show that the Industrial Internet has a significant empowering effect on the digital transformation of manufacturing enterprises and positively promotes the digital transformation of manufacturing enterprises through the mechanism of digitalization, technology absorption, talent introduction, and innovation integration of industry cohort enterprises; the heterogeneity analysis shows that the empowering effect of the Industrial Internet is more substantial for technology-intensive enterprises, diversified business enterprises, and enterprises in the eastern region. This study provides empirical evidence for understanding the digital transformation of manufacturing enterprises enabled by the Industrial Internet. It provides theoretical support for promoting the development of Industrial Internet projects and achieving sustainable development of the manufacturing industry. Full article
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17 pages, 465 KiB  
Article
Individual Characteristics as Enablers of Construction Employees’ Digital Literacy: An Exploration of Leaders’ Opinions
by Sambo Lyson Zulu, Ali M. Saad and Barry Gledson
Sustainability 2023, 15(2), 1531; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15021531 - 12 Jan 2023
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2837
Abstract
The shift towards digitalisation has been empowering growth in the construction industry, especially in the past decade. Construction stakeholders are offered myriad benefits by embracing digital advancements to achieve efficiency. However, the exploitation of digital opportunities is bounded by the need for a [...] Read more.
The shift towards digitalisation has been empowering growth in the construction industry, especially in the past decade. Construction stakeholders are offered myriad benefits by embracing digital advancements to achieve efficiency. However, the exploitation of digital opportunities is bounded by the need for a practitioner skillset that aligns with the digital era, a requirement that has been described as difficult to meet and justified by the low degree of digital literacy among construction employees. This paper reports findings from interviews with 19 leaders and decision makers in the construction sector to reveal the indicators that can predict construction employees’ digital literacy. Such an approach offers a comprehensive exploration of the likelihood of employees’ digital literacy through socially oriented characteristics. Overall, 19 individual characteristics emerged from the thematic analysis and highlight the critical connection between social behaviour and digital literacy. The findings of this paper are timely and important for those businesses assessing their employees’ willingness and maturity with regard to technological change through social and behavioural information. The qualitative approach led to the development of a conceptual framework that can explain the dynamics needed to assess employees’ digital literacy in construction organisations. This study, therefore, reveals the effectiveness of predicting employees’ readiness to shine in the digital era by shedding light on their digital literacy through examinations of individual characteristics in a construction workplace. This paper is among the first to encourage research efforts that take into account the importance of studying social and psychological complexities, which are subject areas that are limited in recent construction literature. As such, it is of value to employers wishing to embed greater digitalisation in their firms, as well as researchers in this domain and policymakers looking to encourage greater digital transformations. Full article
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18 pages, 634 KiB  
Article
Research on the Correlation and Influencing Factors of Digital Technology Innovation in the Guangdong–Hong Kong–Macao Greater Bay Area
by Diexin Chen, Yuxiang Xiao, Kaicheng Huang and Xiumin Li
Sustainability 2022, 14(22), 14864; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142214864 - 10 Nov 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1525
Abstract
We investigated the digital technology innovation association’s spatial distribution characteristics and influencing factors using social network analysis and a negative binomial gravity regression model. The model was based on the transfer of digital technology patent rights among cities in the Guangdong–Hong Kong–Macao Greater [...] Read more.
We investigated the digital technology innovation association’s spatial distribution characteristics and influencing factors using social network analysis and a negative binomial gravity regression model. The model was based on the transfer of digital technology patent rights among cities in the Guangdong–Hong Kong–Macao Greater Bay Area from 2010 to 2020. The following are the paper’s main findings: First, the digital technology innovation association among cities in the Guangdong–Hong Kong–Macao Greater Bay Area is strengthening, and the accessibility and agglomeration of each city node are improving, as are small-world characteristics. Second, for a long time, the four cities of Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Dongguan, and Foshan have been at the epicenter of digital technology innovation. Third, in a more peripheral position, Zhongshan, Huizhou, and Zhaoqing have gradually increased the number of digital technology innovation linkages with other cities. Fourth, technological and institutional proximity positively impact digital technology innovation associations in the Greater Bay Area, whereas geographical distance has a negative impact. The study’s findings can be used to help promote digital technology innovation linkages and develop policies for innovation development in the Greater Bay Area. Full article
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20 pages, 484 KiB  
Article
Can Digital Transformation Promote Innovation Performance in Manufacturing Enterprises? The Mediating Role of R&D Capability
by Shuhao Liang and Tingting Li
Sustainability 2022, 14(17), 10939; https://doi.org/10.3390/su141710939 - 1 Sep 2022
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 3597
Abstract
Innovation is a necessary guarantee for the long-term survival of an enterprise, and Research and Development (R&D) is the source of enterprise innovation. In the situation where the government is comprehensively promoting the strategy of manufacturing power and digital China, it is becoming [...] Read more.
Innovation is a necessary guarantee for the long-term survival of an enterprise, and Research and Development (R&D) is the source of enterprise innovation. In the situation where the government is comprehensively promoting the strategy of manufacturing power and digital China, it is becoming increasingly important for manufacturing enterprises to stimulate enterprise innovation through digital transformation. At the same time, the innovation achievements of enterprises are inseparable from its R&D activities. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to explore the influence mechanism of digital transformation on process innovation performance and product innovation performance of manufacturing enterprises. In this process, this paper puts exploratory R&D capability and exploitative R&D capability as mediating variables into the above research framework. The results show that digital transformation directly promotes the process innovation performance and product innovation performance of manufacturing enterprises. Moreover, the two types of R&D capabilities play the same mediating role in the process of digital transformation boosting enterprise innovation performance, but their indirect mechanisms are different. The above conclusions remain valid after the robustness test. In addition, the heterogeneity test results show that the promotional effect of digital transformation on the innovation performance of manufacturing enterprises has sectoral differences. Only the digital transformation of the mechanical equipment manufacturing sector has a positive effect on two types of innovation performance. In general, the higher the technology content of an enterprises is, the more obviously the digital transformation affects its innovation performance. The above findings have contributed to revealing the specific role and practical significance of Chinese manufacturing enterprises in improving innovation performance based on digital transformation. Full article
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24 pages, 676 KiB  
Article
The Impact of Digital Capability on Manufacturing Company Performance
by Xiaoli Wang, Ying Gu, Mahmood Ahmad and Chaokai Xue
Sustainability 2022, 14(10), 6214; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14106214 - 20 May 2022
Cited by 21 | Viewed by 4959
Abstract
Digital capability is an advanced capability that manufacturing companies need for their digital and intelligent development. At present, the influence mechanism behind the impact of digital capability on manufacturing companies’ performance is still unclear and lacks quantitative analysis. Based on the dynamic capability [...] Read more.
Digital capability is an advanced capability that manufacturing companies need for their digital and intelligent development. At present, the influence mechanism behind the impact of digital capability on manufacturing companies’ performance is still unclear and lacks quantitative analysis. Based on the dynamic capability view, we propose a research model to investigate digital capability, digital innovation, value co-creation, and company performance and conduct an empirical study based on questionnaire data from 209 digital manufacturing companies. The empirical results show that digital capability has a significant positive impact on company performance. The results further show that digital innovation mediates the effect of digital capability on performance within a company, while outside the company, value co-creation mediates the impact of digital capability on company performance. This research provides empirical support in favor of companies developing digital capabilities in the context of digital transformation and offers theoretical insight into the contradiction between the potential value of digital capability and companies’ practice. Full article
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17 pages, 2056 KiB  
Article
The Impact of E-Commerce on the Labor Market
by Carmen-Elena Bănescu, Emilia Țițan and Daniela Manea
Sustainability 2022, 14(9), 5086; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14095086 - 23 Apr 2022
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 6912
Abstract
E-commerce is one of the industrial sectors created as a result of technological progress, and has created new jobs for the economy. However, this sector is conditioned not only by the level of digitalization of each state, but also by the speed of [...] Read more.
E-commerce is one of the industrial sectors created as a result of technological progress, and has created new jobs for the economy. However, this sector is conditioned not only by the level of digitalization of each state, but also by the speed of integration of technology in the business environment. The main purpose of the article is to present the impact of e-Commerce development on the labor market. It also considers impact on the labor market of human capital with advanced technological skills. It focuses on data from a particular period situated between two major crises (the economic crisis of 2008 and the health crisis of 2020). We want to know to what extent a technology-created sector can compensate for technological unemployment. To test the working hypothesis, we developed a panel regression model for a sample of 28 European states. The results indicate that 99.5% of the variation in the labor market activity rate of people aged 15 to 64 years in the selected sample of states is explained by the model. This confirms that the development of e-Commerce and an increase in the percentage of technology-specialized human resources contribute to the increase in activity rate in the labor market. As a result, the labor market must be assisted in keeping up with technology by restructuring the education system, or introducing courses that maintain competitiveness and continuous development. Full article
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Review

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24 pages, 1260 KiB  
Review
Towards Sustainable Virtual Reality: Gathering Design Guidelines for Intuitive Authoring Tools
by Iolanda L. Chamusca, Cristiano V. Ferreira, Thiago B. Murari, Antonio L. Apolinario, Jr. and Ingrid Winkler
Sustainability 2023, 15(4), 2924; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15042924 - 6 Feb 2023
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2900
Abstract
Virtual reality experiences are frequently created using game engines, yet they are not simple for novices and unskilled professionals who do not have programming and 3D modeling skills. Concurrently, there is a knowledge gap in software project design for intuitive virtual reality authoring [...] Read more.
Virtual reality experiences are frequently created using game engines, yet they are not simple for novices and unskilled professionals who do not have programming and 3D modeling skills. Concurrently, there is a knowledge gap in software project design for intuitive virtual reality authoring tools, which were supposed to be easier to use. This study compiles design guidelines derived from a systematic literature review to contribute to the development of more intuitive virtual reality authoring tools. We searched the Scopus and Web of Science knowledge databases for studies published between 2018 and 2021 and discovered fourteen articles. We compiled fourteen requirement and feature design guidelines, such as Visual Programming, Immersive Authoring, Reutilization, Sharing and Collaboration, Metaphors, and Movement Freedom, among others. The gathered guidelines have the potential to either guide the development of new authoring tools or to evaluate the intuitiveness of existing tools. Furthermore, they can also support the development of the metaverse since virtual content creation is one of its bases. Full article
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