Planned episodic change programs, rigid processes and traditional structures, optimized for efficiency rather than agility, are no longer appropriate in a context where competitive advantage is fueled by high-speed innovation, supported by a more entrepreneurial mindset. The purpose of this two part paper is to offer a review of relevant research to provide an informed case for continuous strategic transformation facilitated by enhanced organizational agility. The concept of agility is explored, defined and a framework for categorizing agility-enhancing capabilities is presented. Specific aspects of this agility framework are examined to better understand how these interrelated competencies contribute to overall corporate performance in this fast-paced world.
A range of published empirical and practitioner research articles were reviewed to study the concepts of organizational agility and transformation as critical factors contributing to sustained competitive advantage, organizational performance and survival in the increasingly competitive global context. This literature review explores how organizations are overcoming the challenges imposed by their traditional structures, cultures and leadership models and identifies dynamic competencies to be developed to achieve a greater level of corporate agility.
Increased organizational agility increases the ability to respond proactively to unexpected environmental changes. The commitment to continuous transformation and agile strategies implies changes at all levels of the organization from its structure, through its leadership and decision-making dynamics, down to the skills and interpersonal relationships of the individuals implementing the agile mission.
There is a gap in the literature with respect to agility, namely, that most research focuses on the characteristics of agile organizations, with little attention given to how to develop agile capabilities and embed the commitment to continuous change deep into the corporate DNA, beyond the process level, into the psyche of the people driving the organization.
Managers should consider agility as an overarching principle guiding strategic and operational activities. Fostering agility-enhancing capabilities will be paramount in ensuring the successful integration of agility as a performance enhancing paradigm.
For small- and medium-sized companies with limited resources, this reality makes staying relevant an uphill battle but also opens windows of opportunity. The challenge of the next century for large organizations will be to rekindle their innovative agile beginnings and for start-ups to continue to foster their dynamic capabilities as they grow.
The paper provides practical and empirical evidence of the importance of enterprise agility and specific dynamic capabilities on firm performance.
Appelbaum, S., Calla, R., Desautels, D. and Hasan, L. (2017), "The challenges of organizational agility (part 1)", Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol. 49 No. 1, pp. 6-14. https://doi.org/10.1108/ICT-05-2016-0027Download as .RIS
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