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Continuously Hanging by a Thread: Managing Contextually Ambidextrous Organizations

Author

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  • Wolfgang H. Güttel
  • Stefan W.Konlechner

Abstract

Ambidexterity can be defined as an organization’s ability to simultaneously reconcile exploration and exploitation. In this paper, we focus on contextual ambidexterity, i.e. ambidexterity that derives from the creation of a context that allows employees to pursue exploratory and exploitative activities. Building on empirical case study data from contextually ambidextrous organizations, we describe their idiosyncratic characteristics and we explain how their mode of knowledge transmission between exploratory and exploitative domains, based on fluid project structures, serves to generate competitive advantage. Furthermore, we analyze the role of balancing and orchestrating capabilities for enabling the firm to perform concurrently in exploration and exploitation.

Suggested Citation

  • Wolfgang H. Güttel & Stefan W.Konlechner, 2009. "Continuously Hanging by a Thread: Managing Contextually Ambidextrous Organizations," Schmalenbach Business Review (sbr), LMU Munich School of Management, vol. 61(2), pages 149-171, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:sbr:abstra:v:61:y:2009:i:2:p:149-171
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Stefanie Gschwantner & Martin R. W. Hiebl, 2016. "Management control systems and organizational ambidexterity," Journal of Management Control: Zeitschrift für Planung und Unternehmenssteuerung, Springer, vol. 27(4), pages 371-404, November.
    2. Filippini, Roberto & Güttel, Wolfgang H. & Nosella, Anna, 2012. "Ambidexterity and the evolution of knowledge management initiatives," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 317-324.
    3. Yazan Emnawer AL Haraisa, 2016. "The Impact of Human Resource Management Practices on Innovation Performance: An Empirical Study on Jordanian Private Hospitals," International Journal of Academic Research in Accounting, Finance and Management Sciences, Human Resource Management Academic Research Society, International Journal of Academic Research in Accounting, Finance and Management Sciences, vol. 6(4), pages 185-195, October.
    4. Mattes, Jannika, 2014. "Formalisation and flexibilisation in organisations – Dynamic and selective approaches in corporate innovation processes," European Management Journal, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 475-486.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Ambidexterity; Change; Dynamic Capabilities; Exploration/Exploitation; Strategic Contradictions;

    JEL classification:

    • L2 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior

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