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Unmasking organisational agility : an exploration of characteristics and influences

The essence of agility is how organisations can remain in tune with and respond to changes within the operating environment, but achieving these aims becomes more problematical when the environment is turbulent or fast moving. Whilst the origins of organisational agility lay within manufacturing, turbulent conditions are not restricted to that sector. Whilst definitions of agility are not hard to come by, just what makes an organisation agile is less clear. There is a consensus that agility is not homogenous but is situation-specific and comprises of a number of characteristics, with the importance of each, idiosyncratic to every organisation. A gap in the literature exists in that, whilst the defining characteristics may be unique to each firm, there is no agreement on what they might be, with virtually no attempts made to quantify how one organisation might be any more or less agile than its peers. The primary aim of this study is to devise a means of measuring agility and this is supported by a number of objectives which make a contribution to theory and practice. Objective 1 – To examine the existence of factors determining organisational agility The literature suggests agility is enabled by a range of hallmarks which are idiosyncratic to each organisation, but fails to ariculate what these might be. To bridge this gap, a survey was conducted to test the existence of agility characteristics drawn from the literature. Agility is contested (Bottani 2009) so the hallmarks identified in the literature were tested with industry practitioners using semi-structured interviews. Understanding the relative importance of agility factors addresses a gap in the literature but additionally has commercial appeal for organisations with agile ambitions. Objective 2 – Explore ways in which organisational agility can be quantified by the development of a measurement tool Although the literature does not specifiy the hallmarks of an agile organisation, it does suggest firms experience varying need to be agile and this makes the necessary characteristics heterogenous. Reviewing the literature highlighted virtually no attempts to quantify agility which would allow comparisons to be made across organisations from varying backgrounds. Having identified key characterisitcs of the agile firm in objective 1, the Corporate Agility Matrix (CAM) aims to quantify the importance. This contributes to theory by addressing the absence of a dynamic measurement tool which allows comparisons to be made across organisations.

Identiferoai:union.ndltd.org:bl.uk/oai:ethos.bl.uk:631675
Date January 2014
CreatorsMann, Andrew
PublisherBirmingham City University
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

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