Effects of Intellectual and Social Alignment on Organizational Agility: A Configurational Theory Approach


Literature has shown that business-information technology (IT) alignment can exert both positive and negative influences on organizational agility, giving rise to the IT alignment-agility paradox. To better understand this paradox at a more granular level, we conceptualize the sensing and responding dimensions of organizational agility as two independent constructs and suggest a nonlinear analytical approach. Based on configurational and contextual perspectives, this study investigates how intellectual and social alignment and organizational and environmental elements combine into multiple configurations to affect sensing and responding capabilities. Fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA) is used to analyze the survey data from 135 dyads of business and IT executives from the Chinese shipbuilding industry. Results show that different equifinal pathways can be used to achieve high sensing and responding capabilities, in which intellectual and social alignment play heterogeneous roles depending on the specific contexts. This study extends the IT-enabled agility literature by deepening our understanding of the effects of multidimensional IT alignment on multidimensional organizational agility and providing new insights into the IT alignment-agility paradox.

Publication Title

Journal of the Association for Information Systems