Uncovering a new form of digitally-enabled agility: an improvisational perspective

Published: 17 March 2022

Authors: Nadège Levallet and Yolande E. Chan

Publication: European Journal of Information Systems, Forthcoming


Agile organisations address changes with ease and speed. These changes are tackled through the concept of ongoing agility, using a sense-respond process, composed of sensing, decision-making, and acting. Increasingly, however, unexpected events require a different agility response. In this study, we propose and empirically examine how improvisational agility – conceptualised as organisation improvisational capability, the ability to sense and respond to unexpected events with speed and creativity – is a type of agility better suited for unanticipated events. Specifically, we focus on the improvisational agility sense-respond process. Using four exploratory cases, we find that organisations can leverage existing ongoing agility mechanisms for improvisational agility and, through learning, can leverage improvisational agility in ongoing agility. We also explain how different components of information management capability support improvisational agility, depending on the unexpected events and the need for speed or creativity.

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