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Integration instead of separation. A multi-level analysis of how firms achieve ambidexterity

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abstract In this study we engage in multiple-level inductive research to identify how exploration and exploitation can be simultaneously pursued within one and the same organisational unit in a balanced way without structurally or temporally separating them, and which organisational structures and managerial capabilities are needed to achieve this balance. We develop a conceptual model that argues that a balance between the two is possible by alternative search strategies, paradoxical organisational structures, and a supportive social context. We then use findings on seven in-depth case studies to substantiate and illustrate the model and to derive propositions. These results show that the theorised causal mechanisms are replicated by the data.
These results contribute to substantiating and extending theory on ambidexterity in several ways. First, by a multiple-level design that also incorporates the micro level, we address the limitations of prior studies that have focussed on isolated levels of analysis. We also relativise the argument that exploration and exploitation are fundamentally different, showing complementarities between them. Finally, relativising literature that advises structural or temporal separation of exploration and exploitation, we show that a simultaneous and balanced management between the two is possible, and we demonstrate how this balance can be achieved.
   
type conference paper (English)
   
keywords ambidexterity, exploration, exploitation
   
name of conference Academy of Management Conference (Anaheim, CA/USA)
date of conference 7-8-2008
page(s) 39
review double-blind review
   
citation Keupp, M. M., Zeschky, M., & Gassmann, O. (2008). Integration instead of separation. A multi-level analysis of how firms achieve ambidexterity. In , pp.39.