Dear Colleagues,


Please find the CFP for the special issue on Strategic Agility In Emerging and Transitional Markets guest co-edited by myself with Shlomo Tarba, Yipeng Liu, Geoffrey Wood, Riikka Sarala, and Stav Fainshmidt at Journal of World Business, below this message.


Due to multiple requests by author teams, the deadline for submissions has been extended till October 15, 2019. 


Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.



J. George Frynas



A Special Issue on “Strategic Agility in Emerging and Transitional Markets”

Guest Editors:

Shlomo Y. Tarba, University of Birmingham, UK, [log in to unmask]

Jedrzej George Frynas, The Open University, UK, [log in to unmask]

Yipeng Liu, University of Reading, UK, [log in to unmask]

Geoffrey Wood, The University of Western Ontario, UK, [log in to unmask]

Riikka M. Sarala, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, USA, [log in to unmask]

Supervising Editor:

Stav Fainshmidt, Florida International University, USA, [log in to unmask]


Current concepts such as sustained competitive advantage and strategic planning have been deemed vague, tautological, and inadequate for companies to cope with the rapid rate and increasing complexity of environmental and market changes. To cope with growing strategic discontinuities and disruptions, scholars have highlighted the relevance and proliferation of strategically agile companies; such firms develop new ways for managing business transformation and renewal, developing learning and knowledge transfer skills, founded on an adaptive corporate culture. 

While the literature on strategic agility has been growing, there are virtually no studies that address strategic agility in the dynamic context of emerging and transitional markets, where arguably strategic agility is of even greater importance than in developed markets, given the more fluid nature of institutional supports.

Strategic agility has emerged as a vibrant research stream and the concept has also received attention in the practitioner community (Doz and Kosonen, 2008a; Doz and Kosonen,2008b; Weber and Tarba, 2014). Strategic agility, in general, relates to the firm’s ability to constantly adapt to changing and uncertain environments (Goldman, Nagel, and Preis, 2006). More specifically, Doz and his colleagues suggested that strategic agility consists of three meta-capabilities, namely strategic sensitivity, resource fluidity, and leadership unity (Doz and Kosonen, 2008a; Doz and Kosonen, 2008b). Strategic agility requires inventing new business models and new categories rather than rearranging old products and categories (Wilson and Doz, 2011). 

To cope with growing strategic discontinuities and disruptions, scholars have suggested the creation of strategically agile companies, including new ways for managing business transformation and renewal, developing learning and knowledge transfer skills, an adaptive corporate culture, and more (Doz and Kosonen, 2008a; Doz and Kosonen,2010). Thus strategic agility is an increasingly important core competence of the firm (Junni, Sarala, Tarba, and Weber,2015b) in particular.

The challenge of strategic agility lies in matching the firm's strategy with the firm's resources, such as: capital, human resources, intellectual property, advanced manufacturing and information technologies, as well as in knowledge transfer, building a post-acquisition integration capability, the relevant coordination mechanisms between multinational headquarters and its subsidiaries, adapting CEO’s leadership style to the ever-changing business environment, and organizational preparedness to reverse ineffective strategic decisions. In addition, the challenge of strategic agility in emerging markets relates to matching the firm’s strategy and resources with the complexities of the rapidly changing and demanding institutional context. Hence, these challenges encountered by firms in today’s highly competitive global environment necessitate a deeper understanding of strategic agility, its theoretical underpinnings, potential micro-foundations, and its implications for firm performance (Weber and Tarba, 2014).

In order to attain strategic agility it is important for organizations to develop the key capabilities needed to accelerate the renewal and transformation of the existing business models (Bock, Opsahl, George, and Gann, 2012). For instance, human resource management practices may be conducive to managing tensions associated with organizational change and transformation (Lewis et al., 2014; Smith, 2014). Strategic agility in its turn can strengthen the positive effects of technological capability on explorative innovation in the firm (Zhou and Wu, 2010).

Strategic agility plays an important role in collaborative entry modes, such as mergers and acquisitions (Junni et al., 2015b), which are important entry modes for firms to and from emerging markets. For instance, human resource flexibility facilitates the sociocultural integration and knowledge transfer in mergers and acquisitions (Sarala, Junni, Cooper, and Tarba, 2016). Moreover, different types of mergers and acquisitions can facilitate strategic agility (Brueller, Carmeli, and Drori, 2014). 

Multinational enterprises are not exempt from the requirement for entrepreneurial capabilities to compete successfully on the global landscape (Teece, 2014). Strategic agility may facilitate multinational companies to capture opportunities across emerging and established markets in today’s increasingly connected global world (Fourné, Jansen, and Mom, 2014).  In addition, firms need to possess the resources and capabilities to interact with multiple partners to gain competitive advantages (Mellahi, Frynas, Siegel, and Sun,2016). Furthermore, firms increasingly face the complexity of government involvement and new Statism (Wood and Wright, 2015). Strategic agility may have important bearing to enable firms to cope with afore-mentioned cases of complexity.

In the context of entrepreneurial partnership, the social role of entrepreneurship necessitates collaborative involvement among multiple stakeholders (Zahra and Wright, 2015). Hence strategic agility is crucial for incumbents to proactively interact with entrepreneurs to enable value creation for multiple stakeholders. For instance, entrepreneurial partnership needs agile approaches in dealing with partners while navigating through uncertainty (Liu and Almor, 2016). The nature and extent of agility is bound up with local, national, and regional context; these all afford organizations opportunities and capabilities, and restrain and mould choices. A key concern in taking the literature on strategic agility forward is a better understanding of the effect of these various contextual circumstances on the ability to modify and remodify what the organization does.

Objectives of the Special Issue

The goal of this Special Issue is to stimulate scholars to explore how underlying concepts and methodologies can make an important contribution towards better understanding of strategic agility in developing, emerging, and transitional economies as well as advanced economies - such as the United Kingdom, Greece and others - undergoing systematic economic change, and its impact on organizational performance.

We invite papers that focus on the strategies and operations of multinational companies and SMEs in developing, transitional, emerging and developed economies undergoing systematic economic change, which address various aspects of strategic agility. The complex, widespread, and growing phenomenon of strategic agility may require the incorporation of multidisciplinary, multi-level and cross-cultural models and analyses. Thus our special issue solicits papers that offer novel insights interms of the performance implications of strategic agility, the relative importance of strategic agility antecedents and their interaction effects, and the influence of different contexts (intra-firm, inter-firm, network) and different levels of analysis (firm level, business-unit level, top managementteam, individual), in terms of promoting theoretical synthesis, and suggest new venues for future research.

Illustrative Topics

We encourage both conceptual and empirical contributions that may address, but are not limited to, the following topics: 

·        What are the antecedents,moderators/mediators, and outcomes of  strategic agility in emerging, transitional, and developed markets undergoing systematic economic change?

·        What impact do different configurations  ofnational level institutions have on the nature, extent and relevance of different firm level approaches to strategic agility?

·        What are the international dimensions of strategic agility (eg. foreign firms that are entering/operating in these environments and their ability to respond to changing conditions and thecompetitive responses/advantages of indigenous firms as well)?

·        What are the roles of early warning systems, communication, learning, scanning, knowledge transfer, training, managerial rotation, and rewarding in the development of strategically agile MNCs and SMEs?

·        What is the role of strategic agility in global collaborative arrangements (M&A, strategic alliances, joint ventures, and/or entrepreneurial partnership) in emerging, transitional, and developed markets?

·        What insights can perspectives from strategy, economics, organizational behaviour, international management, psychology, sociology, anthropology, and other disciplines provide into the nature, antecedents, processes, and effects of strategic agility in emerging, transitional, and developed markets?

·        What are the profiles of strategically agile MNCs and SMEs in in emerging and transitional markets?

·        When should management embrace intuitive and action-oriented forms of decision making for the sake of strategic agility in emerging, transitional, and developed markets?

·        How can the organizational context in and from emerging markets and in the particular context of the senior management's strategic decisions best contribute to achieving strategic agility in the emerging, transitional, and developed markets?

·        What are the interrelationships between strategic agility and organizational change, transformation, and renewal in the emerging, transitional, and developed markets?

·        What is the impact of corporate social responsibility on strategic agility in the emerging, transitional, and developed markets?

·        What is the impact of corporate culture differences and national culture distance on strategic agility?

·        What may be the impact of leadership and trust on strategic agility in the emerging, transitional, and developed markets?

·        What is the impact of market and non-market strategies, and integration of the both, on achieving strategic agility?

·        What may be the impact of emotions and resilience on strategic agility  in the emerging, transitional, and developed markets? 

·        What are the new methods (both quantitative and qualitative) to assess the antecedents and consequences of strategic agility (and perhaps even measurement of the construct itself)?

·        What differences can be found in organizations in terms of strategic agility in the public and non-profit sectors in the emerging, transitional, and developed markets?



Submission Process

Deadline: October 15, 2019. The authors should submit their manuscripts online via the Journal of World Business submission system at:

To ensure that all manuscripts are correctly identified for consideration for this Special Issue, it is important that authors select ‘SI: Strategic Agility in Emerging and Transitional Markets’ when they reach the “Article Type” step in the submission process. Manuscripts should be prepared in accordance with the Journal of World Business Guide for Authors available at All submitted manuscripts will be subject to the Journal of World Business’s double-blind review process. Invitations to revise and resubmit will follow initial submissions in approximately 3-4 months.

For further information and questions, please contact the lead guest co-editor, Shlomo Tarba ([log in to unmask]" target="_blank">[log in to unmask]) or the supervising editor, Stav Fainshmidt ([log in to unmask]" target="_blank">[log in to unmask]).

Research Data

Research data forms the backbone of research articles and provides the foundation on which knowledge is built. Researchers are increasingly encouraged, or even mandated, to make research data available, accessible, discoverable and usable. Although not mandatory, the journal encourages authors to submit their data at the same time as their manuscript.Further information can be found at:


Bock, A. J., Opsahl, T., George, G., and Gann,D. M. (2012). The effects of culture and structure on strategic flexibility during business model innovation. Journalof Management Studies, 49(2), 279-305.

Brueller, N. N., Carmeli, A., and Drori, I. (2014). How do different types of mergers and acquisitions facilitate strategic agility. California Management Review, 56(3), 39-57.

Burgess, N., Strauss, K., Currie, G., and Wood, G. (2015).Organizational ambidexterity and the hybrid middle manager: the case of patient safety in UK hospitals. Human ResourceManagement, 54 (S1), 87-109.

Combs, J. G., Ketchen Jr, D. J., Ireland, R. D., and Webb, J. W. (2011).The role of resource flexibility in leveraging strategic resources. Journal of Management Studies, 48(5),1098-1125.

Doz, Y., and Kosonen, M. (2008a). The dynamics of strategic agility: Nokia's rollercoaster experience. California Management Review, 50(3), 95-118.

Doz, Y. L., and Kosonen, M. (2008b). Fast strategy: How strategic agility will help you stay ahead of the game: Pearson Education.

Doz, Y. L., and Kosonen, M. (2010). Embedding strategic agility: A leadership agenda for accelerating business model renewal. Long Range Planning, 43(2), 370-382.

Fourné, S. P., Jansen, J. J., and Mom, T. J. (2014). Strategic agility in MNEs: Managing tensions to capture opportunities across emerging and established markets. California ManagementReview, 56(3), 13-28.

Goldman, S. L., Nagel, N. and Preiss, K. (1995). Agile competitors and virtual organizations: Strategies for enriching the customer.New York, NY: Van Nostrand Reinhold.

Junni, P., Sarala, R. M., Tarba, S. Y., Liu, Y., and Cooper, C. L.(2015a). The role of human resource and organizational factors in ambidexterity: A state-of-art review. Human ResourceManagement, 54 (S1), 1-28.

Junni, P., Sarala, R. M., Tarba, S. Y., and Weber, Y. (2015b). Therole of strategic agility in acquisitions. British Journal of Management, 26, 596-616.

Lewis, M. W., Andriopoulos, C., and Smith, W. K. (2014).Paradoxical leadership to enable strategic agility. California Management Review, 56(3), 58-77.

Liu, Y., and Almor, T. (2016). How culture influences the way entrepreneurs deal with uncertainty in inter-organizational relationships: The case of returnee versus local entrepreneurs in China. International Business Review, 25(1), 4-14.

Mellahi, K., Frynas, J. G., Siegel, D. S., and Sun, P. (2016). A review of the nonmarket strategy literature: Towards a multi-theoretical integration. Journal of Management, 42(1), 143-173.

Nadkarni, S., and Herrmann, P. (2010). CEO personality, strategic flexibility, and firm performance: The case of the Indian business process outsourcing industry. Academy ofManagement Journal, 53(5), 1050-1073.

Sarala, R. M., Junni, P., Cooper, C. L., and Tarba, S. Y. (2016).A sociocultural perspective on knowledge transfer in mergers and acquisitions. Journal of Management, 42, 1230-1249.

Shimizu, K., and Hitt, M. A. (2004). Strategic flexibility: Organizational preparedness to reverse ineffective strategic decisions. Academy of Management Executive, 18(4), 44-59.

Smith, W. K. (2014). Dynamic decision making: A model of seniorleaders managing strategic paradoxes. Academy of Management Journal, 57(6), 1592-1623.

Teece, D. J. (2014). A dynamic capabilities-based entrepreneurial theory of the multinational enterprise. Journal of International Business Studies, 45(1), 8-37.

Weber, Y., and Tarba, S. Y. (2014). Strategic agility: A state of the art. California Management Review, 56(3), 5-12.

Wilson, K., and Doz, Y. L. (2011). Agile innovation: A footprint balancing ditance and immersion. California Management Review, 53(2), 6-26.

Wood, G., and Wright, M. (2015). Corporations and new statism:Trends and research priorities. Academy of Management Perspectives, 29(2), 271-286.

Zahra, S. A., & Wright, M. (2016). Understanding the social role of entrepreneurship. Journal of Management Studies53(4), 610-629.

Zhou, K. Z., and Wu, F. (2010). Technological capability, strategic flexibility, and product innovation. Strategic Management Journal, 31(5), 547-561.




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Prof J. George Frynas | Professor of Strategic Management

The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA, UK
+44 (0) 1908 858389 | [log in to unmask] |

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Recent articles:


Frynas JG, Mol M, Mellahi M. “Management Innovation Made in China: Haier’s Rendanheyi”, California Management Review, 61(1), 71-93, 2018.


Liedong TA, Frynas JG. “Investment Climate Constraints as Determinants of Political Tie Intensity in Emerging Countries: Evidence from Foreign Firms in Ghana”, Management International Review, 58 (5), 675-703, 2018.


Akhtar P, Khan Z, Frynas JG, Tse YK, Rao-Nicholson R. “Essential Micro-Foundations for Contemporary Business Operations: Top Management Tangible Competencies, Relationship-Based Business Networks and Environmental Sustainability”, British Journal of Management, 29(1), 43-62, 2018.

Available for free:


Also check out these top cited reviews:


Mellahi K, Frynas JG, Sun P, Siegel D. “A Review of the Nonmarket Strategy Literature: Towards a Multi-Theoretical Integration”, Journal of Management 42(1): 143-173, 2016.

Available for free:


Frynas JG, Stephens S. “Political Corporate Social Responsibility: Reviewing Theories and Setting New Agendas”, International Journal of Management Reviews 17(4): 483–509, 2015.

Available for free:


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