1. A Comparison and contrast of the four forms of organization agility, showing the most important for Bank of Saint Lucia (BOSL). Agility is the ability of an organization to renew itself, adapt, change quickly, and succeed in a rapidly changing, ambiguous, turbulent environment. Agility is not incompatible with stability”quite the contrary. Agility requires stability for most companies (De Smet, 2015). Therefore the term organizational agility is the capability of an organization to rapidly change or adapt in response to changes in the market.
A high degree of organizational agility can help an organization to react successfully to the emergence of new competitors, the development of new industry-changing technologies, or sudden shifts in overall market conditions. An agile organization such as Bank of Saint Lucia (BOSL) is normally a flexible organization. To achieve this the workforce must be organized in a flexible manner, this is done using the four forms of flexibility. These four forms of flexibility include: functional flexibility, numerical flexibility, temporal flexibility and financial flexibility.
The four forms of flexibility incorporate the four dimensions of agile working which are time, location, role and source. These four speak to when do people work, where they work, what people do and who does the work. See Appendix 1 for Atkinson’s flexible firm model. In this paper the four forms of flexibility will be compared and contrasted.Functional flexibility allows employees to be quickly and smoothly deployed between activities and tasks within an organization (ABE Study guide, 2017). This allows managers to relocate workers between multiple workforces and tasks. Workers need to be adequately trained and highly skilled as they may need to know many different tasks. Employees usually have flexible working hours, and there is normally a good relationship between the organisation and its employees. Functional flexibility workers form the core group of workers in Atkinson’s flexible firm model. Numerical flexibility refers to an organisation’s ability to increase or decrease its workforce at short-notice as required (ABE Study guide, 2017). This applies to the first peripheral group of workers in Atkinson’s flexible firm model, they are low skilled labour available in the market. Under numerical flexibility, employers can match labour demands under contract within the organisation. This is achieved through flexible employment methods such as short term contracts and outsourcing (Ritson, 2011). The third form of flexibility is temporal flexibility. In this form of flexibility working hours are adjusted to meet highs and lows in demand for employees (ABE Study guide, 2017). This type of flexibility is implemented through the use of overtime or part time seasonal employees, and is found in the second peripheral group of workers in Atkinson’s flexible firm model. Finally there is financial flexibility refers to the capability of organisations to adjust the price (pay) of labour in accordance with the supply and demand of workers within the company (Ritson 2011). Financial flexibility is related to and supportive of numerical, temporal and functional flexibility. Although functional flexibility forms part of the core group in Atkinson’s flexible firm model, it also falls into the first peripheral group along with numerical flexibility. These two forms of workers both form part of the organisation. They are similar because they both belong to the organisation, therefore can be utilized quickly if the need arises. The numerical flexibility workers, although they permanent like the functional flexibility workers, do not share as many career opportunities and training benefits. They are also low skilled employees as compared to the functional flexibility employees who are high skilled employees.Numerical flexibility employees are also contract workers which is similar to temporal employees. They can be increased or decreased as is needed by the organisation. They may be low skilled like those workers found in numerical flexibility. Numerical and temporal employees also have less job security than the functional flexibility workers. Temporal flexibility deals with adjusting working hours and as such would have flexible working hours like functional flexibility employees, this is so due to the fact workers are utilized only when there is a need. Temporal flexibility employees are usually support staff who are hired when there his higher demand in the organisation. They are usually the first set of workers to be let go when there is no longer the need or there is a turn in the market along with numerical flexibility employee. Functional flexibility employees are usually the last to go as their jobs are very secure. Financial flexibility supports all the other forms of flexibility as it allows for the payment of the labour force. It involves a variation of payment to allow the organisation to meet its objectives. For functional flexibility and full time numerical flexibility employees it offers pay related performance packages or dividends or bonus payments. For temporal flexibility employees it allows for payment of the additional resources once the need arises by the organisation. Financial flexibility is the most important form of organisational agility for BOSL. This is so because the bank needs high skilled adequately trained employees due to the nature of the organisation. Employees of BOSL would have different task and as such would need to be able to manage multiple tasks. In the event of an unforeseen occurrence in the market or even in the organisation, BOSL needs to be able to quickly deploy staff without any hiccups. Currently BOSL and its employees have a favourable relationship, the bank has performance based pay and bonuses available for staff who perform above and beyond the call of duty. Although functional flexibility is the most important form of organisational agility for BOSL, there may be some use of the numerical and temporal flexibility. For instance BOSL outsources its cleaning services for the bank. Organisational agility is very important to an organisation and by extension the four forms of flexibility. It allows organisations such as BOSL to understand which form of flexibility is required for their organisation, but also be aware that if there is a demand that additional labour can be sourced. The four forms identified above have some similarities, which help them to work together, so employees from one group of flexibility could possibly be promoted to another group. There are also differences noted, which highlight the uniqueness of each form of flexibility.