underlying assumption of theories on ambidextrous organizations is the
importance of balancing and synchronizing exploratory and exploitative
innovations, yet the difficulty of achieving both types of innovations in any
singly organization has often been noted in the literatures (Burns &
Stalker, 1961; Duncan, 1976; Tushman & O’Reilly, 1996; Volberda, 1998).
Burns and Stalker (1961), for instance, have argued that two sharply different
organizational designs, a mechanistic and organic structure, are appropriate
for either exploitative innovations or exploratory innovations. While there is
little empirical evidence how ambidextrous organizations are able to
simultaneously pursue exploratory and exploitative innovations (cf. Benner
& Tushman, 2003; Gibson & Birkinshaw, 2004; Tushman & O’Reilly,
1996), this is precisely the challenge facing numerous organizations (Brown
& Eisenhardt, 1997; Bradarch, 1997). Researchers have yet to determine how
ambidextrous organizations can be organic as well as mechanistic (Nord &Tucker,
1987) and pursue both types of innovations simultaneously.
customers (Benner & Tushman, 2003: 243).
Exploitative innovations build
upon existing knowledge and meet the needs of
literatures have affirmed the underlying assumption that firms need to
facilitate both contradictory elements simultaneously (e.g. Adler, Goldoftas,
& Levine, 1999; Bradach, 1997; Wilson, 1966). Various theoretical
perspectives have discussed this critical challenge for organizations,
including theories of technological innovation (Anderson & Tushman, 1986;
Dewar & Dutton, 1986; Ettlie, Bridges, & O’Keefe, 1984; Tushman &
Romanelli, 1985; Tushman & Anderson, 1986; Tushman, Newman, &
Romanelli, 1986), and organizational change (Mezias & Glynn, 1993). simultaneously.
Exploratory innovations require
new knowledge or departure from existing knowledge and are designed for
emerging customers or markets.
this dissertation, ‘ambidextrous organization’ is used to refer to the ability
of firms to perform exploratory and exploitative innovations simultaneously
(cf. Benner & Tushman, 2003). The studies listed are representative rather
pursue both exploratory and exploitative innovations.
In this sense, Benner and Tushman (2003) argue that ambidextrous
& Martin, 2000; Levinthal & March, 1993; Teece, Pisano, & Shuen,
between exploration and exploitation activities (Burgelman, 1996;
literatures have increasingly discussed the need for firms to achieve a
management literatures, organizational change, and organizational
paper identifies, reviews and assesses the structural dilemma in business
management, how they affect business operations in an ambidextrous structure. Structural
dilemma in business management could be seen as a situation where an
organisation is faced with the challenges of having to choose between the
various structures available to be able to practice as an ambidextrous
organisation. This paper seeks to find the implications of an ambidextrous structure
in business management.