Judith Neumer, ISF Munich, Germany
Stephanie Porschen-Hueck, ISF Munich, Germany
Stefan Sauer, FAU Nuremberg University, Germany

Published in

Volume 18, Issue 2, p27-38, June 2018


New approaches to management and organization emerging in the discussion about work 4.0 are closely linked to the debates about agility. Agile methods, originating from software development, have spread to different areas and sectors, and the call for an “agile organization” is meanwhile heard virtually everywhere. An important step on the way to agile organizations is seen in “Agile Scaling”–the transfer of agile approaches from isolated teams to the organization as a whole. However, in the empirical reality of enterprises and organizations these ideas still play a relatively minor part. Further propagation is impeded by the problem that agile methods are embedded in historically grown structures, mostly bureaucratic structures. For this reason, the formation of an “agile organization” not only requires a methodical way of “Agile Scaling” but also a reflection of the conditions for self-organization within given structures. An essential part of this reflection is coming to grips with organizational discrepancies resp. areas of tension in the context of self-organized work. This is the concept of Reflexive Scaling presented and discussed in this paper. We scrutinize new approaches to management and organization as to their innovative potential in terms of scope of action for the employees, discuss Scrum and Agile Scaling as approaches to the formation of an agile organization, present pertinent empirical findings from two case studies, and finally present the concept of Reflexive Scaling as an integrating frame for Agile Scaling. In a concluding outlook, we establish a link between agile organization and learning organization resp. double-loop learning.


agile frameworks, agile scaling, project management, new work, holacracy, sociology of work

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