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


  • Christiane Prange


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Christiane Prange, 2016. "Engaging with complex environments: why agility involves more than running hard," International Journal of Complexity in Leadership and Management, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 3(3), pages 182-197.
  • Handle: RePEc:ids:ijclma:v:3:y:2016:i:3:p:182-197

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    Cited by:

    1. Jafari-Sadeghi, Vahid & Amoozad Mahdiraji, Hannan & Busso, Donatella & Yahiaoui, Dorra, 2022. "Towards agility in international high-tech SMEs: Exploring key drivers and main outcomes of dynamic capabilities," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 174(C).


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