Digital Transformation of the Finnish Taxi Industry
A Long-Term Research Program
From banking to healthcare to retail, every industry is currently adopting digital technologies to enable transformation. The taxi industry has often been noted as a textbook example of this disruptive change, largely thanks to the multi-billion dollar efforts of Uber. However, little academic research has been conducted on the digital transformation of the taxi industry thus far. Especially scant have been studies that include the incumbent dispatch organizations and the surrounding institutional environment. In this project, we study industry-level digital transformation comprehensively, taking into account the regulation of technology, the public authorities involved in or affected by regulative changes, the technology, as well as the organizations developing/providing technology and those utilizing it.
Figure 1. Illustration of currently ongoing regulative changes and the role of different stakeholders, technology and data
Since 2017, we have studied how digital transformation is occurring in the Finnish taxi industry. This is a long-term research program that delves into the dynamics of complex sociotechnical phenomena involved in this change. The topic is especially relevant now in Finland where the taxi industry was deregulated with the Act on Transport Services in July 2018, and is also currently (autumn 2020) undergoing new regulative changes. Since 2018, we have conducted over 90 recorded interviews with various stakeholders in and around the taxi industry.
Our topics of interest include the effect of legal changes (especially taximeter regulation) on the digital transformation of the industry, the principle of technology-neutrality, ride-hailing apps, pricing models under the new regulation, strategizing, and platform competition. We have published the results of our reserach project in the Journal of Strategic Information Systems (one of the top-journals in the IS field), and in various high-level international IS conferences.
We have also actively participated in thepolicy process of chaning the Act on Transport Services (in 2020), and published a report on the ambiguous taximeter regulation for the stakeholders of the taxi industry (in Finnish language).
Currently we collaborate with scholars from University of Oulu Business School, University of Gothenburg, TalTech, Tallinn University, and others. Our research has been financially supported by the Academy of Finland PROFI-4 GenZ and the Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation. We are involved in the COST Action network ”From Sharing to Caring: Examining Socio-Technical Aspects of the Collaborative Economy.” In addition, we are actively building new research collaborations and applying for funding.
Our goal is to become Europe's leading researchers within this topic. We want to strenghthen the status of University of Oulu in the Information Systems research community, and provide significant societal value.