Recognizing a serious lack of research on routinized individual actions and organizational adaptation in the stability-change paradox, we intend to provide an in-depth explanation of the way in which agile methods affect organizational learning in self-managed, team-based organizations, taking a multi-level evolutionary approach. We explore learning in agile organizations by breaking the analysis of organizational routines down into different levels – individual, team and organization – and describing the process of variation, selection and retention of routines at each level. Leveraging on multiple case studies, we discuss how team members learn and gain knowledge, from both direct and indirect experience, and analyze how teams develop conceptual frameworks and interpret those experiences. Finally, we discuss how organizational memory develops and how teams in agile organizations adapt simultaneously within an ecological structure that also comprises the changing environment. Our findings reveal substantial flaws in the capacity of agile methods to foster organizational learning.
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