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Int. j. econ. manag. soc. sci., Vol(3), No (12), December, 2014. pp.


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International Journal of Economy, Management and Social Sciences


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Analysis of Organizational Agility in Education System of Iran

Faezeh Jahangiri
M.A. in Educational Management, Department of Post Graduate, Tonekabon Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tonekabon, Iran.

Ali Khalkhali*
Assistant Professor, Department of Post Graduate, Tonekabon Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tonekabon, Iran.
*Corresponding author:



Organizational agility
Education system

This study is to analyze organizational agility in the education system of Iran. The study is of descriptive-survey
type. The statistical population was provided by all Iranian experts in the field of education. A collection of 120
experts were chosen as the subjects of the study through calculating minimum sample size with simple random
sampling. Data was collected through questionnaire assessing organizational agility and analyzed by using of one
sample t-test. Findings of the research revealed that organizational agility in education system was significantly
lower that average level in aspects of promptness, responsiveness, flexibility, competence, service improvement
and enrichment of customers satisfaction. This result disclosed incapability of the Iranian education system to
respond promptly and effectively to changes affecting it.



Nowadays, having compatible strategies is essential for organizations due to rapidly changing environment, indeed the issue that how companies
could succeed in a dynamic, unpredictable setting is recognized as the most substantial challenge in the world today. Although various tactics such as
timely production, reengineering, virtual organizations and networking planned so as to do so, yet making organization agile is the most favorable
one. In such environment agility has been changed into an important capability affecting the performance of organization [21]. Agility means high
compatibility of an organization without requiring changes to be made. As a matter of fact organization could develop a capacity in its structure and
method of operations in a way that leads to flexibility, changing and adjustment with shifting conditions without continuing, compulsory and
fundamental changes [6].
Meantime, it seems that change is one of the main features of education system in competitive era. Given ongoing development in the world today
especially in the field of information technology, education system has inevitable to make changes in its attitude, knowledge, approaches, schemes
and expected results. Unstable situation as the factor contributing to confusion, mistrust and variation will force considerable pressure on education
system activities. Therefore it should be able to adapt quickly to intricate conditions so as to survive in the competitive environment.
Agility is the ability of an organization to perceive environment change and then respond to it rapidly and efficiently. The agility is not only essential
for producers but its application in education system could also provide a suitable setting for growth and improvement in this section. Some believe
that agility is not significant in this department owing to lack of promptness and any competition there, or to put it differently because of inactive
environment and unproductive activities performed there. But we believe that agility is more required in this section than manufacturing
organizations due to the vast number of clients there and the necessity to meet their needs and demands and for giving boost to the promptness,
creativity and quality of services offered by the education system and last but not the least bringing down the organizational costs. Therefore
education system should be willing to make changes and have policies to do so, but how? How it could cope with these changes without getting
involved in complicated, uncertain conditions? The answer is that it must be equipped with sufficient knowledge and awareness. Knowledge and
awareness will give organizations vision with which their capabilities in decision-making will be expanded. Organizations should make their working
condition more flexible. In such condition agility empowers the education system to deal with environmental changes.
The term of agile is defined as rapid and active movement and agility in defined as the ability of moving rapidly and think intellectually and timely
[17]. Organizational agility means the ability of each organization to feel, understand and predict the ongoing changes in business environment, such
organization should be able to recognize environmental changes and consider them as growth opportunity. In other words agility is the capacity of an
organization to survive and develop in a competitive environment with continuing, unpredictable changes which required a prompt response.
Undoubtedly it will be accomplished with valuing the quality of products and services demanded by customers [40].
Table 1. aspects of agility and their definitions
Service improvement
Enrichment of
customers satisfaction

The ability to do more in less time (Christopher, 2004)

The capability to recognize and then react promptly to changes and exploit them (Sherehiy et al., 2007)
The capacity to run various procedures and achieve different goals by equal facilities (Sharifi and Zhang, 2000)
The competency to attain organization targets (Safi ,1997; Shahabi and Jafar Nejad, 2005).
The ability to manufacture new, diverse products economically and increase the net income of organization (Dimitropolos, 2009).
The strength to offer products and customer services continually and in order to value and meet customer needs (Nagaprasad and Yogesha, 2009).

Faezeh Jahangiri, Ali Khalkhali *


International Journal of Economy, Management and Social Sciences Vol(3), No (12), December, 2014.

Sharifi and Zhang (1999) believe that agility is the ability of organization to feel, understand and predict prevailing changes in business environment
and see them as growth opportunities. They defined agility as ability to cope with unexpected difficulties in order to handle unprecedented threats of
business environment and take advantage out of them as growth opportunities elsewhere. They think that promptness and flexibility are basis of
agility. Organizations need to adapt up-to-dated technologies and databases, invest in knowledgeable staff, promote solidarity in business procedures,
move in line with virtual organization forms, cooperate with local and foreign organization and achieve an integrated supply chain in order to
maintain flexibility and promptness to perform in their businesses. Brian Maskell (2001) defines agility as ability to create prosperity in a changeable,
unpredictable environment. Atos (2007) describes agility as capacity and flexibility to respond to environment changes and points out that needs for
improvement are constant; standards today are old methods of tomorrow. Hence improvement is allways necessary. Vernadat (2009) believes that
agility could be defined as a convergence of organization and changeable working demands in order to take competitive advantage. In such
organization personnel goals are in line with organizations target and they are simultaneously seeking to respond effectively to erratic customers
demands. Peter and Hilo (2004) state that organization agility is defined as capability and capacity of an organization to carry out a profitable
operation in a competitive environment full of continuous, unpredictable and changing opportunities. Hormozi (2001) also notes this issue that agile
organizations are flexible and prompt in their response to erratic market situation. Brown and Bessant (2003) suggest that agility involves immediate,
effective reaction to market demand. Aslo Nilver et al, (1999) think that agility is application of market knowledge and virtual structure for exploiting
profitable opportunities in shifting market environment, Fliender and Vokurka (1997) define agility as capacity of an organization in marketing
quality, non-expensive products with short waiting times in different quantities which brings more profit to customers. Kay and Prince (2003) assume
that agility is ability to response to sudden changes and meeting customers changing demands based on price, characteristic, quantity, quality and
timely delivery. Agility, on the ground of results and outcomes, means making dynamic, position-oriented and audacious changes which guarantee
success in market share and win the great number of customers. In other words agility is the ability of a business to develop and survive in a
competitive environment with continuous and unpredictable changes which required quick response to unsteady markets. Undoubtedly it could only
be accomplished with valuing products and services demanded by customers. Kidd (1994) gives one of the most exhaustive definitions of agility as:
an agile organization is a quick, compatible and aware enterprise which could adapt rapidly to unexpected and unpredicted changes, market
opportunities and customers demands. In such business there are procedures and structures which facilitate promptness, adjustment and solidarity of
organization besides orderly and coordinated organizing which enables it to improve competitive performance in dynamic and unpredicted business
environment which are also proportionate to current functions of organization. Goldman (1995) explains agility as capacity to succeed in everchanging and unpredictable environment and presents it as unique, basic and new method in business management. Gould (1997) describe agility as
discontinuing old methods; ones which their revenue and efficiency has been decreased in current environment. He claims that more development,
more flexibility and higher responsiveness than other rivals are required in modern competitive environment. Chin-Yin (1999) characterizes agility as
new way of doing tasks and understands it as new procedure in manufacturing, selling and buying, diverse and multiple connections and advanced
criteria for assessing performance of individuals and companies. Dove (1999) delineates agility as ability of organization to develop and survive in an
unpredictable and unstable working environment. He believes that agility indicates management competence and effective use of knowledge in a way
that organization could prosper in changing and unpredicted business environment. In other words agility not only hints at capacity to respond to
unexpected changes but taking sensible actions based of those changes (knowledge management). Bullinger (1999) states that agility is mutability of
behavior of an organization that is in line with environment and its ability to respond properly to ever-changing markets. Arteta and Giachetti (2004)
also interpret agility as capability of an organization in order to adapt to changes and take advantages of looming opportunities caused by those
Sometimes theory of agility is understood as continuing of all organization activities and redesigning all of them through advanced technologies.
Burgess (1999) concludes that reengineering of business procedures is the key to organizational agility. According his ideas agility is combination of
existing technologies and systematic producing methods that stresses on altering manager and staffs values, interaction of management importance
and technology innovations. Hamel and Prahalads (1994) suppose that agility constitute a blend made up of procedures, organization style and
personnel combined with advanced technologies. Agility increased power of organization to offer high quality products and services and therefore is
vital to raise organization competitive force. They consider agility as central competence and describe competence as experiences and knowledge
which empowering organization to achieve its basic and fundamental targets.
In the present environment, every organization should be capable of manufacturing different products simultaneously with a short-term life,
redesigning products, changing methods of production, reacting efficiently to changes to be called an agile organization [35].
The above mentioned definitions of agility making organization seem dynamic, position-oriented, mutable and growth-oriented. The tendency toward
dynamism is rooted in inefficiency of old agility methods in present time. The importance of position-orienting is the fact that market environment
affecting required level of agility. And the significance of mutability is due to agilitys dependency on organization movement in line with flexibility
and compatibility. And at last agility is growth-oriented and will be materialized through ability of organization to perceive and re-admit perspective,
reconstruct of strategies, innovative new technologies and tactics [24].
Leaders cause changes and those who are effective could trigger changes inside and outside of organization, agility is an outcome of such leadership.
Agility of education system implies that managers and leaders bring prosperity through knowledge management and make a potent and thriving
Findings show that effective leaders could cause profound changes in organization by investing in agility. In other words true leaders are those
providing oral perspectives for organization, observing procedures and exactly understanding how to provide resources for making necessary changes
i.e. agile leaders are confident to have flexible resources that is, skilled staff could be promptly deployed in different sections as required.
Organizations found that agility is critical for their survival and competitiveness in market [37]. Therefore organizations should cooperate with each
other so as to reach required level of agility. Agility is a decisive concept for organizations, so they need to reconstruct their infrastructures as well as
re-shape their business culture in this context which takes so much time and needs careful planning [14].


Analysis of Organizational Agility in Education System of Iran

International Journal of Economy, Management and Social Sciences Vol(3), No (12), December, 2014.


History of research

Many experts claim that the most successful organizations of future are those leading in agility. Adel Azar and Pishdar (2011) determined in a survey
that some sort of factors like capacity of easily implementing fundamental and small changes in organizations and other factors could bring about
differences in organizations status. Therefore they could improve their competitive advantages in respective profession by enhancing their abilities in
such factors. Fatahian and Sheikh (1998) offered a model for developing agility of organizations in which various aspects of agility were represented,
namely; promptness, responsiveness, flexibility, promoting competence, service improvement and enrichment of customers satisfaction. Nikpour
and Salajegheh (2010) determined the relationship between organization agility and employee satisfaction in state organizations in the County of
Kerman. Findings of the research revealed that there was a significant connection between organization agility, and its sub-variables, namely;
responsiveness, competence, flexibility, promptness and job satisfaction.
Khorshid, Mahfoozi Mousavi (2010) found, in a survey, that awareness of Presidents of manufacturing organizations from current and required level
of organization agility is an inevitable requirement. Gholami (2010) states his opinion based on his survey that dealing with complications is
unavoidable. But human forces react slowly to those difficulties. Meanwhile Karbasian et al, (1390) shows that level of agility and competitive
ability of organization could be improved.
Verbaan and Silvius (2012) say that organization agility has been designed in order to cope with change and it plays a significant role in organization
as enabler. They try to recognize organization agility procedures and establish connection between them.
Erande and Alok Verma (2008) from Old Dominion University in a research titled measuring organization agility a comprehensive agility
measurement tool (CAMT) found that using analytic hierarchical process (AHT) and flexibility, changing enabler and problem-solving priority are
agility tools from a company to others. Sherehiy and et al, (2007) claim, according to their research that flexibility, responsiveness, promptness,
culture of change, integration and low complexity, high quality, customized products and competence are features of agility. According to Jackson
and Johansson the aspects of agility are not the ultimate goal but essential tools to maintain organization competitiveness in uncertain and fluctuating
Sharifi and Zhang (2001) believe that among four aspects of agile production, namely; agility encouragements, strategic capability, empowering
business agility and agility competency, encouragements indicate external features of business environment in terms of confusion and inability to
predict changes. Shefer (2000) from Cornell University conducted a research titled human resources strategic planning based on strengthening
agility in which offered new model beside models for business strategy and organization planning and concluded that focusing on human resources
strategy overtime have supported achievement in organizational agility success.



This is a descriptive-survey research. The statistical population of the research was provided by all experts in the field of education, 500 persons,
which mentioned in database of dissertation written by Khodadoost (2009). The sample size was estimated 120 through calculating minimum sample
size, moderating it [38] and also predicting its possible decline. Simple random sampling was used to determine the size of final sample as well.
Data was collected through questionnaire assessing organizational agility. This questionnaire reviewed based on Spidezr (2013) and Fathian research.
The final questionnaire includes 47 items based on 4-point Liker scale. Reliability of the questionnaire assessed based on Cronbachs alpha
coefficient (=0.934). Questionnaire were sent to and gathered from participants by e-mail. This information was analyzed through one sample t-test.



Observed value was compared with expected value in order to analyze the questions of this research. The observed values were estimated through
administering the questionnaire and expected values were calculated by multiplying scale median (2.5) by number of questions for each variable.
Table 2. Results of one sample t-test (Confidence level 95% )
Aspects of agility
Service improvement
Enrichment of customers satisfaction
Organization agility (total)




Degree of





Following results achieved based on analyzing the table:

A. The organizational agility in education system of Iran is significantly lower than average level in terms of promptness.
B. The organizational agility in education system of Iran is significantly lower than average level in terms of responsiveness.
C. The organizational agility in education system of Iran is significantly lower than average level in terms of flexibility.


Faezeh Jahangiri, Ali Khalkhali *


International Journal of Economy, Management and Social Sciences Vol(3), No (12), December, 2014.

D. The organizational agility in education system of Iran is significantly lower than average level in terms of competence.
E. The organizational agility in education system of Iran is significantly lower than average level in terms of service improvement.
F. The organizational agility in education system of Iran is significantly lower than average level in terms of enrichment of customers satisfaction.
J. The organizational agility in education system of Iran is significantly lower than average level in terms of organizational agility (total).



The overall results of this research indicate that education system of Iran lacks required agility in order to effectively deal with changes affecting it.
According to the findings it could be seen than the change-making speed is so slow and difficult. This organization could not quickly establish big or
small changes in its technological structures. This organization lacks sufficient ability to train and rearrange and reorder its own staff rapidly.
Additionally it lacks required preparation for outsourcing its central tasks as well as flexibility in dealing with its various competitors.
This system is impotent in gaining knowledge and actually never encourages learning through experience. Although the system never tolerates any
sort of mistakes, no provision has been made to prevent it from happening again.
Education system of Iran is unable to eliminate bureaucracy and replace leading scenarios with formalities. Indeed the system has not been design
simple and flexible. In this system there is no move from traditional roles toward more flexible ones. Moreover the duties and tasks out there dont
encourage gaining experience through working. And still its feedbacks are not quick enough to address internal and external changes.
The finding of the research manifests that capability to make decision timely and capacity to implement those decisions and the speed of problemsolving are to low and done with overdue delay. This system was not created in a way that making quickly changes possible and basically it not only
doesnt welcome any changes as a kind of competency but also considers it as something abnormal. In fact stability, confidence and guarantee are
more appreciated than unpredictability, flexibility and risk management regarding the future events.
The education system of Iran is reluctant and unprepared to outsource its pivotal tasks and even opposes to this idea. Meanwhile it is nor responsive
to environmental opportunities and threats [24]. The findings of the research reveal that personnel of the education system have not been prepared in
way that being capable of dealing with changing conditions. As the result of this fact the whole system is unable to take advantages from
environmental innovation actively and intellectually. The consequence of such situation is impotency of the system to offer variety, build up
promptness and make services more economic parallel to environmental changes and various customers demands.
Finally the findings of the research indicate a deficiency in all aspects of agility in education system of Iran in order to deal with changing conditions.
According to these finding the followings are proposed: first, the concept of organizational agility should develop in line with education systems
requirement and become a principle there. Second, agility should be included in development programs of education system of Iran as a strategic
project. Certainly establishing a comprehensive agility measurement tool [12] is an inevitable requirement to observe the procedure of agility.


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