Survival of the fittest: businesses put to the test

The agility of Australian organisations will come under the microscope in a study to be launched today by the University of Melbourne and leading professional services firm PwC.

Businessman jumping

“Studying agility across strategy, operations and culture is like considering the organisation as a whole – its mind, body and soul”, says Professor Graham Sewell.

Sammy Kumar, PwC Consulting Leader said the concept of agility is emerging as a key indicator of organisational success.

“Agility will be one of the most critical assets for companies over the next decade, recognising that intangibles such as people, brand and digital connectivity will be greater drivers of value than traditional assets.

“Highly agile organisations are able to respond to dynamic change, capitalise on opportunities and address risks faster and more effectively than their competitors,” Mr Kumar said.

Up to 120 organisations will be involved in the study, which will feature direct involvement of CEOs and senior executives from sectors ranging from banking and manufacturing through to professional services and not-for-profits.

“We are aiming to find out what really makes some companies better able to survive, adapt and thrive than others,” said Mr Kumar.

The study will investigate the full range of factors that affect an organisation’s agility across the three key domains of strategy, operations and culture.

Professor Graham Sewell, Head of the Department of Management and Marketing in the Faculty of Business and Economics said that the study will be the first time such a broad-based approach to understanding the determinants of agility has been established.

“Studying agility across strategy, operations and culture is like considering the organisation as a whole – its mind, body and soul”

“Agility has never before been approached in such an integrated, holistic manner, with a process that considers multiple indicators to equip companies with the capacity to thrive in the midst of change.”

“The Agility study will lead to an original, cost-effective approach for corporate, government and not-for-profit organisations alike to manage risk, at the same time boosting their adaptability and flexibility,” said Professor Sewell.

Mr Kumar added that the insights gained from this research project will help Australian businesses increase their competitiveness and risk management by focusing on agility.

“When you consider the dynamic nature of our increasingly globalised economy, Australian businesses now more than ever need to understand the relationship between agility, change and organisational success,” said Mr Kumar.

The University of Melbourne-based research team is being headed by Professor Sewell and will also draw on expert input from human resource specialist Dr Adam Barsky and organisational psychologist Dr Michael Zyphur, as well as consulting experts within PwC.

For more information:

Andrew Sedger (Communications, PwC)
T: +612 8266 2664 M: 0438387792
E: andrew.sedger@au.pwc.com

David Scott (Media Unit, University of Melbourne)
T: +613 83440561 M: 0409024230
E: dascott@unimelb.edu.au

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