Continuous change in mature firms
Doctoral thesis, 2005
To create growth and prosperity for firms in mature yet dynamic industries, it is suggested essential to develop the capability of ambidexterity. Ambidexterity can be described as the ability to combine increased efficiency with the creation and development of new capabilities, through simultaneously balancing the logics of exploitation and exploration, either this is related to technologies, products or processes. With the stronger focus on increased efficiency and short-term results that many firms in mature industries are facing, it becomes crucial to increase the explorative perspective, while maintaining the high focus on efficiency, but even more crucial to increase the balancing of those perspectives.
The most developed approach to ambidexterity is the structural separation of explorative and exploitative activities into different organizational entities. This approach is developed to suite mature organizations in situations of radical change of the business environment. To complement this approach a contextual approach has been suggested in the literature, to enhance ambidexterity at multiple levels in the organization. However, the suggested contextual approach needs to be further developed regarding the model of change and further how to manage the contradictory logics of exploration and exploitation in different organizational levels.
Based on research in the automotive industry, a mature yet dynamic industry, this thesis seeks to further develop the contextual approach to ambidexterity, taking a stronger base on the model of continuous change, rather than radical change. This as a high level of continuous change requires a different form of ambidexterity, with ambidexterity at multiple levels in the organization and with a more contingent approach.
In creating and managing a more contextual approach to ambidexterity different imperatives than structure is needed. Based on the results from the different included studies, it is here suggested that corporate entrepreneurship may be the vehicle for creating and managing a more contextual and also contingent approach to ambidexterity. This as corporate entrepreneurship in its essence is about increasing the level of exploration in organizations that are heavy in exploitation. In entrepreneurial behaviour further lies the ability of continuously merging the contradictory perspectives of exploration and exploitation in development activities. That is the merging of existing knowledge and capabilities with new knowledge and ideas to facilitate the development of new competitive products and solutions.
mature and dynamic complex organizations