From Digitalization to “Disruption”? Service Networks in the German Energy Sector
- Though data management was outsourced energy supplying companies themselves still are occupied with testing and adapting the processes because policy regulations are very volatile and tacit knowledge of long-standing employees of the energy supplying companies is necessary to fix problems.
- Outsourcing administration and management of customer relationships remains ambiguous as these relationships become increasingly important for business success
Gaining profit from digital outsourcing seems to be questionable. Moreover, collaboration with external service suppliers bears the risk to thin out the energy companies core competencies and to enable the collaborators to become competitors.
Based on neoinstitutionalist approaches of radical change the paper interprets qualitative interview material. We argue that organizational innovations were introduced due to external pressures such as a general management trend in the organizational field to engage in digitalized service networks and as the radical institutional change by the energy policy. As unintended consequences, instead of engaging less in some fields of business that were outsourced, companies now have to engage more, to interact with the counterparts in the service networks and to adapt their internal belief systems and working practices to the organizational innovation.