Pacific Asia Journal of the Association for Information Systems


Background: Agile practices have gained popularity in the 21st century. There is also a growing body of research on agile methods. While some earlier research on agile practices and organizational culture exists with the assumption that the optimal combination of agile practices and organizational culture exists, we examine how agile methods and organizational culture interact and are mutually adjusted.

Method: To find out how agile methods and organizational culture are related in practice, we conducted 50 semi-structured interviews with software and embedded software developers from five Japanese companies and three software teams from Finland.

Results: Adopting agile methods does not necessarily cause convergence of organizational culture toward democratic which seems to be most compatible with archetypal agile practices. Agile methods can be adapted to organizational cultures that are sometimes challenging to modify. We demonstrate that companies tried to fit agile practices into hierarchical organizational cultures, demonstrating that organizational culture can occasionally be viewed as an exogenous variable influenced firm-, product-, and industry-specific features. Also, it is possible to transform organizational cultures to democratic. The examples demonstrate how companies alter their culture in part through HRM techniques. It should be noted, however, that these efforts to conform to culture can have some restrictions.

Conclusion: There is not a single ideal combination of agile methods and organizational culture, despite what some earlier studies suggested. The results show how organizational culture and agile methods interact and adapt to one another in different ways. According to several earlier studies, different organizational cultures may support different facets of agile methods. They do not presuppose organizational culture diversity; in that it goes beyond the notion of a one-to-one relationship between agile methods and democratic organizational culture. While implementing agile practices in various organizational cultural contexts, practitioners must consider how agile methods and organizational culture are interconnected.