Mindful revolution or mindless trend? Examining agile development as a management fashion

Cram, Alec and Newell, Susan (2016) Mindful revolution or mindless trend? Examining agile development as a management fashion. European Journal of Information Systems, 25 (2). pp. 154-169. ISSN 0960-085X

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The growing adoption of agile methods of system development can be seen as broadly consistent with characteristics of a management fashion. However, the extent that fashions relate to how specific organizations actually adopt and use agile remains unclear. Based on five case studies, this research seeks to apply the concepts from management fashion theory to understand how organizations mindfully (or mindlessly) adopt agile methods. We find in some cases that agile appears to be characterized as a short-term, transitory trend, while in others it is embedded in an organization’s processes and culture. We identify three categories that distinguish between fashion patterns during agile adoptions: Crusaders, who exclusively adopt agile in a pure form; Tailors, who integrate agile and traditional approaches to fit their specific circumstances; and Dabblers who employ a few ceremonial agile activities alongside a traditional approach. The results from this study can encourage managerial awareness of the link between fashions and agile development, which can serve to highlight the unique opportunities to enhance mindfulness and avoid the pitfalls of mindlessness. By uncovering insights into the fashion-centric drivers of agile adoption, this research extends past theory related to both mindful innovation and management fashions.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: agile, systems development, management fashion, mindfulness adoption
Schools and Departments: University of Sussex Business School > Business and Management
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Depositing User: Tahir Beydola
Date Deposited: 14 Jun 2016 09:11
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2016 09:11
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/61466
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