Title: Engaging with complex environments: why agility involves more than running hard

Authors: Christiane Prange

Addresses: School of Economics and Management, Tongji University, 1500 Siping Road, Shanghai, 200092, China

Abstract: This article addresses the notion of 'agility' that has recently become very prominent in management practice and research. While part of the concept's popularity derives from the consulting discourse, agility has also been considered a necessary remedy for coping with increasingly complex environments where the traditional strategy of running hard is no longer sufficient. Nevertheless, definitions and practices still tend to concentrate on the aspects of speed and acceleration. In this research note, I trace the origin of the agility concept, introduce a definition that focuses more on decision-making, and develop a model that identifies four critical agility dimensions: identity, capabilities, mindset, and leadership. This model enables analysis of a company's agility based on personal and organisational evaluations and helps to advance the desired future state of adaptability and flexibility responsive to fast-changing environments. Finally, I suggest how the model can be further developed by industry, country, and functional extensions.

Keywords: speed; slowness; agility; identity; mindset; capabilities; leadership; complex environments; complexity; agile management; decision making; adaptability; flexibility.

DOI: 10.1504/IJCLM.2016.080328

International Journal of Complexity in Leadership and Management, 2016 Vol.3 No.3, pp.182 - 197

Received: 12 Apr 2016
Accepted: 29 Jun 2016

Published online: 10 Nov 2016 *

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