Culture of Control and its Relationship to Successful Large Scale Agile Transformations

Streaming Media

Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)

Committee Chair

Lewis Chongwony

Committee Member

Kenneth Knox

Committee Member

Timothy Reymann


This quantitative study focuses on how an organization’s culture with a predisposition towards control may influence the degree of success of a large-scale agile transformation change initiative. In today’s highly volatile and uncertain business environment, organizations must exercise agility to survive and thrive against their competition. Implementing an agile framework at large-scale across an organization can help increase an organization’s overall agility. However, transforming an organization to using agile frameworks is a complex and lengthy organizational change initiative. It requires the shift of a command-and-control culture to one that embraces change and empowerment. Not only is culture difficult to change, but culture also appears as one of several top challenges when executing large-scale agile transformation initiatives. From a sample of n=143 experienced persons with large-scale agile transformation initiatives in the United States, companies classified with either low control and high control cultures at the start of their agile transformation did achieve some level of success. Hypothesis one was supported in that companies with low control cultures at the start of their transformation had significantly higher success achieving their transformation goals over high control cultures. Hypothesis two, however, was not supported; no significant relationship was found in the strength of a culture at the start of its agile transformation and the degree of large-scale agile transformation success. A low reliability (Cronbach’s alpha 0.0456) for the instrument used to evaluate H2 may have contributed to its non-support. With culture a complex, multifaceted construct in agile transformations, recommendations for future studies are provided.