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Examining organizational agility in response to increase uncertainty from multi-level perspectives (Advert Reference: SF21/BL/LHRM/ALI)

   Faculty of Business and Law

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  Dr Imran Ali  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Strategic agility has gained much attention of management scholars in recent years due to rapidly changing and uncertain global business environment; it is identified as a key success factor for firms (Doz & Kosonen, 2008a, Doz & Kosonen, 2010). Strategic agility bas become even important recently due to uncertainties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.  The organizations these days are striving hard to find ways to cope up with changing work and business practices to ensure positive performance outcomes despite challenging business environment. Agility in the literature is considered as ‘capacity to react quickly to rapidly changing circumstances’, and as a ‘set of specific tools and methods,’ (Brown and Agnew, 1982). Due to its significant importance, agility has become inevitable for organization to sustain and progress in today’s competitive, rapidly changing, and uncertain business environment. Agility is being analysed at different levels including strategic, organizational, team, leadership, and perspectives such as marketing, finance, IT, HR, operations, and supply chain. In a recent study, Ferraris et al., (2021) examined agility from microfoundation perspective by examining the strategic agility of MNEs in the emerging markets, by analysing the by examining the role of CEOs in developing strategic agility in subsidiary offices. While organizational agility can be examined from multiple lenses, the current study intends to analyse strategic agility from multiple levels perspective, i.e., what leadership style is more suitable to increase organizational agility (individual perspective), how leader-member relationships can contribute to improve organizational agility, (team perspective), and how does organizational design base on agile methods impact organizational performance Birkinshaw et al., (2021)  during uncertain times like Covid-19 pandemic.  

Although there exists some evidence on organizational strategic agility in different perspectives, there is lack of multi-level analysis that can provide some policy recommendations to the business managers to increase the organizational agility to yield positive outcomes during times of uncertainties like Covid-19 pandemic. It is peremptorily important for organizations to adopt leadership styles, shape leader-member relationships, and adapt their organizational design to increase organizational agility to cope with challenging and uncertain business environment. This study will contribute to the body of knowledge and practice on how to increase organizational agility during current uncertain times caused by Covid-19 pandemic from organizational behaviour perspective.

This project is supervised by Dr Imran Ali

Eligibility and How to Apply:

Please note eligibility requirement:

·       Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.

·       Appropriate IELTS score, if required.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see 

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. SF21/…) will not be considered.

Deadline for applications: Open

Start Date: March 2022 or October 2022

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff and students. We welcome applications from all members of the community.

Funding Notes

Please note this is a self-funded project and does not include tuition fees or stipend.


Birkinshaw, J., Girod, S.L.J., and Prange, C. (2021). Business Agility In Response to Increased Uncertainty, Open call for papers for California Management Review, retrieved November 10, 2021 from
Brown J.L. and Agnew, (1982). Corporate Agility. Business Horizons. 25(2):29–33.
Doz, Y. L., & Kosonen, M. (2008). Fast Strategy: How Strategic Agility Will Help You Stay Ahead of the Game. Harlow: Pearson Education.
Doz, Y. L., & Kosonen, M. (2010). Embedding strategic agility: A leadership agenda for accelerating business model renewal. Long Range Planning, 43(2–3), 370–382.
Ferraris, A., Degbey, W.Y., Singh, S.K., Bresciani, S., Castellano, S., Fiano, F., and Couturier, J. (2021). Microfoundations of Strategic Agility in Emerging Markets: Empirical Evidence of Italian MNEs in India. Journal of World Business, in press,
Prange, C. (2020). Strategic Agility. Decision-Making Beyond Speed. Working Paper. Tongji University.
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