The paper "Agile Governance- Agility of the Public Organizations in Saudi Arabia" is a delightful example of a term paper on information technology. The world today faces considerable changes in almost every aspect and particularly technological innovations, marketing competition, and customer demands. These developments have resulted in a major revision of strategic vision and business priorities (Sharifi and Zhang, 1999). Most organizations have come to a realization that for them to continue surviving and being competitive, agility is an essential requirement. Apparently, a number of authors have emphasized the diverse facets of agility, leading to varied views about this concept. Gunasekaran (1999), defines agility as the ability to prosper and survive in a competitive set of unpredictable and continuous change by reacting effectively and speedily to changing markets, directed by customer-defined services and products.
According to Kid (1994), agility is the proactive and rapid adaptation of enterprise elements to unforeseen and unexpected changes. The original creators of the concept of agility, the Iacocca Institute of Lehigh University, in the United States described it as a system of manufacturing with the ability to suit the fast-changing needs of the markets.
Another definition was proposed by Yousssuf et al. (1999), and according to them, agility is the successful employment of competitive bases, for instance, innovation, speed, quality and flexibility through the integration of best practices and reconfigurable resources of knowledge-rich atmosphere to offer customer-driven services and products in a rapidly changing environment. Regardless of the above differences, it is apparent that all definitions lay major emphasis on flexibility and speed as the main attributes of agile organizations (Youssuf, et al, 1999). The concept of agility has been widely researched since its initiation in the 1990s as a model for enhancing competitiveness.
This concept is now recognized as a successful strategy for organizational growth and survival in business environments. It is necessary to note that agility does not only refer to the organization’ s ability to react to unforeseen change, but also the ability to proactively act with reference to change. Some of the main drivers influencing the future competitive environments of the business world today include increasing customer expectation, technology acceleration, resource limitation, information availability, job and wage skills shifts and globalized competition and markets (Nagel and Dove, 1991).
Sharifi and Zhang (1999) identify key drivers to change as customer requirements, market, social, technological and competitive factors. Therefore, to deal with the unforeseen changes, Giachetti et al. (2003), highlight that agility should be a structural property of the organization’ s system. The concept of organizational agility has a significant influence on a business environment that is becoming more complex and uncertain. (Liebowitz J. 1999). Papp, R (1998) argued that agility was actually changing the structure of industries in the market, changing the rules and allowing organizations to develop a competitive advantage in all aspects of the value chain.
Keen (1991) noted that agility is becoming a vital aspect of daily business. He highlighted that this concept has key influences on the business including image technology, achieving location independence, altering business relationships and online processing. Rockart (1998) highlighted that agility can have significant impacts on business strategy. It actually promotes effectiveness in business undertakings. Keen (1991) predicted that it would be difficult for companies to define an effective business strategy, which does not depend on information technology.
Generally, agility has become an important organizational resource for executing business strategy (Rockart, Earl and Ross, 1996)