Agile work practices and employee proactivity: A multilevel study

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Abstract

Several large organizations underwent agile transformation processes over the past few years, despite limited theory and empirical research on agile working. The present study draws from the taskwork–teamwork distinction and the proactivity literature to develop a new multilevel model of agile working. We tested this model in a sample of 114 teams (N = 476 individuals) undergoing an agile transformation at a large German transport and logistics organization. Teams at the end of the agile transformation scored significantly higher on agile work practices, proactivity norms, and team performance than teams at the beginning of the transformation. Results of multigroup structural equation modeling indicated that agile taskwork related indirectly to team performance through a positive relationship with proactivity norms. The positive relationship of agile teamwork with team performance was not mediated by proactivity norms, unlike hypothesized. Finally, we found that agile taskwork increased the likelihood that individual employees benefited from engaging in proactive behavior (specifically, employee intrapreneurship) in terms of in-role performance (i.e., cross-level interaction). This was presumably because of the favorable proactivity norms of teams practicing agile taskwork (i.e., mediated moderation). We discuss the implications of our findings for the literature on proactive behavior in teams.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2189-2217
Number of pages29
JournalHuman Relations
Volume75
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

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