Strategic agility through improvisational capabilities: implications for a paradox-sensitive HRM

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Miguel Pina E Cunha
  • Emanuel Gomes
  • Kamel Mellahi
  • Anne Miner
  • Arménio Rego

External organisations

  • Nova School of Business and Economics
  • University of Warwick
  • University of Wisconsin
  • Católica Porto Business School Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Porto and eBusiness Research Unit (UNIDE-IUL) Instituto Universitário de Lisboa


Organizations, especially, multinationals, inevitably confront contradictory challenges. One crucial challenge is the value of strategic consistency versus the value of rapid change related to unexpected problems, opportunities and fast moving trends. Accentuating the previously planned strategy can reduce temporal responsiveness; accentuating the immediate problems/opportunities can harm overall consistency. Strategic agility offers a potential path to resolve this paradoxical situation. In this article we advance a vision in which firms nourish improvisational capabilities in order to enhance strategic agility. We develop six HRM domains of action that can enhance effective improvisation and can inform the practice of a paradox-informed HRM. We discuss their implications for HRM-based strategic agility, paradoxical HR, and improvisation.


Original languageEnglish
Article number100695
JournalHuman Resource Management Review
Issue number1
Early online date17 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


  • strategy, improvisation, strategic agility, paradox, paradoxical human resource management, MNCs