This chapter examines the interplay between digital technology and the social, political, economic and cultural contexts of 'higher education'. Continuing the distinction between societal and organizational influences, the chapter examines three distinct elements of the societal level of analysis. First is increased globalization of economic, financial and cultural processes. Second, is the corresponding rise of the so called 'knowledge economy'. Third and perhaps most significantly is the rise to prominence of neoliberal ideology and the increased bearing of new forms of managerialism on nature of higher education over the past forty years. All of these wider societal rearrangements are key to understand how digital technologies have found a place within contemporary universities. Indeed, it can be argued that the ever-increasing presence of digital technology within higher education is both driven by these wider contextual changes, and a driver of these wider contextual changes. The knowledge economy thesis implies that individuals and organizations face educational challenges in ensuring their economic success.