To Dance at Two Weddings - How Do Individuals Experience the Tensions of Balancing Exploration and Exploitation?
Abstract: The aim of this study is to investigate how individuals handle the tensions of balancing explorative and exploitative work tasks. Methodology: Using an abductive approach and following the interpretive research traditions, this qualitative case study is based on 12 semi-structured interviews in one single organization. The theoretical framework is based on organizational learning as well as ambidexterity: organizational and individual. It also includes theory in role-taking and identity, which connects to ambidextrous work on an individual level. Keeping the individual who performs ambidextrous work in focus, the openness for their thoughts and feelings highlights tensions and paradoxes related to performing ambidextrous work. Our findings indicate that while individuals get positive feelings from working ambidextrously, they also experience various challenges. Our contributions include the questioning of whether all individuals should work ambidextrously. We have also identified how some individuals view themselves as explorers, while we would argue that their work is exploitative.
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