Survival of the fittest: businesses put to the test
[17 May 2011]
The agility of New Zealand and Australian organisations will come under the microscope for the first time in a study launched today by the University of Melbourne and leading professional services firm PwC.
Phil Royal, PwC New Zealand’s Consulting Leader, says the concept of agility is emerging as a key indicator of organisational success.
“We know given the challenging economic conditions how important it is to be able to respond to dynamic change. Highly agile organisations are able to respond to dynamic change, capitalise on opportunities and address risks faster and more effectively than their competitors.
“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.” Phil Royal says.
Up to 130 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 the public sector in New Zealand and Australia.
“We think it is important for businesses and the wider community to find out what really makes some organisations better able to survive, adapt and thrive than others.
“Agility is particularly relevant given the New Zealand Government has signaled one focus of the upcoming Budget will be to continue the drive for efficiency in the public sector. So it’s clear significant change is required in both the public and private sector in this post recession economy.” says Phil Royal.
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 at the University of Melbourne said it was the first time such a broad-based approach to understanding the determinants of agility had been established.
“Studying agility across strategy, operations and culture is like considering the organisation as a whole – its mind, body and soul.” he said.
“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.
Phil Royal adds the insights gained from this research would help New Zealand and Australian businesses increase their competitiveness and risk management by focusing on agility.
“When you consider the dynamic nature of our increasingly globalised economy, New Zealand and Australian businesses now more than ever need to understand the relationship between agility, change and organisational success.” says Phil Royal.
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 PwC consulting experts led by Partner Richard Shackcloth.
For more information:
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University of Melbourne
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