Agility Meets German Bureaucracy: A Constructive Approach of Implementing Agility in Public Sector Organizations

Julia Elena Taubenberger

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis examines challenges the adoption of agility in public sector organizations creates, as well a show these can be overcome. In academia, agility has predominantly been studied in the context of the private sector. The public sector, which is, however, subject to comparable pressures of an external environment characterized by volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity (VUCA) has been greatly neglected with regards to this organizational paradigm. Studies within the sparse research field emphasize the barriers an agilization (i.e. the change towards agility)bears and question its feasibility. Therefore, the dual purpose of this thesis is to advance literature on agility in the public sector and to challenge the notion that public sector organizations cannot become agile. Focusing on the German public sector as an empirical setting, I conduct in-depth interviews with practitioners and consultants. Based on a grounded theory approach, I confirm the relevance of agility for public sector organizations and identify challenges - stemming from both the public sector’s system architecture and employees’ socialization - which impede agilization efforts. To address these challenges, I derive respective measures and develop a constructive approach on how the proposed changes should be implemented and how public sector organizations can become more agile.

EducationsMSc in Business, Language and Culture - Diversity and Change Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2020
Number of pages133
SupervisorsDennis Schoeneborn