Strategic agility in international business: A conceptual framework for “agile” multinationals

Riad Shams, Demetris Vrontis, Zhanna Belyaeva, Alberto Ferraris, Michael R. Czinkota

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148 Citations (Scopus)
95 Downloads (Pure)


Strategic agility is a fuzzy concept that may be counter intuitive as well as confounding to some scholars in terms of the agile strategies' contextual issues. At the same time, the need to be agile is crucial for firms, especially for Multinational Enterprises (MNEs) that operate in culturally different host countries. Thus, a deep understanding of strategic agility is very intriguing for both academics and executives, as several gaps are apparent in the extant literature. In this paper, we review mainstream studies on agility in the international business context, discussing its relevance and proposing main aspects of strategic agility to clarify further this indistinct concept. Moreover, we provide a novel conceptual framework based on the integration of agility in different operational areas (e.g. Information Technology, supply chain and production) that organizations should foster to become an “agile multinational”. Our synthesis represents an innovative strategic direction for MNEs to understand better strategic agility, which clearly extends the concept of flexibility, while managing stakeholder relationships in order to develop key dynamic capabilities. Finally, we also discuss the main contributions of the other articles included in this special issue, thus providing specific examples of agility in well debated IB contexts (e.g., emerging markets). We also suggest some future research areas for this complex and ambiguous concept.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100737
JournalJournal of International Management
Issue number1
Early online date7 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021


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