The Effects of Leadership Behaviors on Organization Agility: A Quantitative Study of 126 U.S.-Based Business Units

Gretchen Gagel


Researchers have theorized that the behaviors of organization leaders impact organization agility, which is defined as the ability of an organization to swiftly and successfully change in order to achieve long-term success. The purpose of this study was to determine if leadership behaviors as measured by the MLQ-5X predict organization agility as measured by the Agility Survey (short-form). The research sample included 126 U.S.-based business units within 47 organizations with greater than 1,000 employees. The leadership behaviors found to predict higher levels of organization agility included: (a) exploratory leadership behaviors that support discovering new ways to solve problems and conduct business, (b) latitude leadership behaviors that provide employees with a high degree of freedom and responsibility in achieving work results and resolving issues, (c) visionary leadership behaviors that create a clear organization purpose and mission and define the “why” of the organization’s existence, and (d) reflective leadership behaviors that cause leaders to challenge their own assumptions and create mechanisms for the organization to do so as well. The leadership behaviors related to power and structure predicted lower levels of organization agility.

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