Demystifying Agile

University essay from Lunds universitet/Företagsekonomiska institutionen

Abstract: This paper aims at demystifying the agile way of working and to improve the understanding of the concept. We do this through a case study of a large bank which initiated a transition to agile five years ago, a transition which can be categorised as an attempt to shift from being bureaucracy to post-bureaucracy. To reach our aim, we engaged in in-depth interviews, observations, and document analysis all within the interpretivist tradition to capture the employees’ sensemaking of their new way of working. In this paper we propose three alternative meanings of agile, namely ‘agile as an envy generator’, ‘agile as standardisation’, and ‘agile as managerial boredom’. These stand in stark contrast with the established understanding of the concept in much of the literature and the general business discourse as ‘agile as an organisational panacea’, and thus we shed new light on this fashionable way of working.

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