Drivers and barriers for the involvement of port agents in digitalization projects of the port call process
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The thesis aims to propose a framework for the relationship between digital transformation and business ecosystem concepts and theories. Moreover, it aims to identify the drivers and barriers of port agents participating or getting involved in digitalization projects in the port call process. This context will help to explore the main points presented in the theoretical framework and better understand the maritime digitalization processes. This two-case study had the port agents as the unit of analysis and aims to answer the main research question: What are the drivers and barriers to the port agents’ participation in digitalization projects related to the port call process? Therefore, the researcher first used a force field analysis framework and conducted semi-structured interviews, one observation, and exchange emails to collect the data. Then, she analyzed the data in three steps; starting with the transcription of the recorded interviews, then codified the data manually, and finally summarized the recurrence of the codes based on the coding and themes related to the theoretical framework (Figure 3). The findings described the current port agent's business model and value proposition. Moreover, it explained their current role in the port call process and the disruptions and strategic responses triggered by digitalization, and the drivers and barriers to their participation. Furthermore, it allowed the researcher to make a cross-case comparison of those two cases. The results suggest that managing digitalization projects in a multi-level ecosystem is complex and disrupts its stakeholders' business models and value propositions. Furthermore, it showed the different drivers and barriers that the port agents had to get involved in those projects, highlighting the size and typology of their business as an extra factor to determine their involvement. However, more research is needed in different contexts and with other stakeholders to understand this phenomenon in greater depth.