The Mobile Agility Framework: An Exploratory Study of Mobile Technology Enhancing Organizational Agility
Journal of Theoretical and Applied Electronic Commerce Research
Organizational agility is a key factor for survival and success in today's global, interconnected and turbulent business environment. Mobile technology, due to its anywhere, anytime characteristics, can be a promising tool for enhancing organizational agility. Yet there are no studies that guide organizations in leveraging mobile technology for improving speed and responsiveness to market needs. This paper attempts to fill this gap by exploring the question of how mobile technology can be used
... o enhance organizational agility. We use an exploratory research approach that analyzes archival data of 89 case studies describing contemporary applications of mobile technology within organizations. After developing a mobile agility framework and using it as our analytical lens, we examine each case to identify specific ways in which mobile technology is used to improve operational, customer, and partnering agility. The main contribution of this study is identification of emergent clusters of agility-enhancing mechanisms based on the benefits of mobile technology. The discovered benefits and mechanisms can guide organizations on improving their agility with the help of mobile technology. We also formulate research questions that should be addressed by future studies in order to produce a more comprehensive theoretical understanding of how mobile technology improves organizational agility. The notion of agility has been a research topic in several disciplines, including manufacturing, IT and organizational leadership. It is conceptualized as both the identification of and the reaction to change or opportunities. That is, agility is the "ability to detect and seize market opportunities with speed and surprise"  p. 238. The reaction component may have associated goals such as being a cost effective response  or a response with "ease, speed, and dexterity"  p. 464. Along these lines, we can examine a response in terms of its action efficacythe degree to which the response is "the right action at the right time"  p. 254. With the sense and act components of agility, agile organizations are well positioned to respond to uncertainty  . But what exactly does it mean for organizations? To find out, we examine what constitutes agility in the disciplines of manufacturing, supply chain management, software development, strategy, and information systems. Agility has origins in manufacturing and production where, as a competitive initiative, researchers advocate integrating production processes and other parts of the company into a totally integrated organization where information "flows seamlessly among manufacturing, engineering, marketing, purchasing, finance, inventory, sales and research departments"  p. 8. This supports concurrency in the processes of new product development, manufacturing and marketing.