In Pursuit of Ambidexterity The ambidextrous nature of a small enterprise and its implications on NPD - A Case Study
Abstract: Innovation is a crucial determinant of success in today’s highly competitive and fast-paced climate. This forces organizations to focus on developing future business solutions while still exploiting their existing resources to stay profitable. One way of doing this is through organizational ambidexterity, which is shortly described as the ability of an organization to balance exploration and exploitation for sustained performance. The theory of ambidexterity mostly concerns large companies with enough resources to separate the organizations into different parts, focusing on existing and future businesses respectively. Moreover, the challenge for small companies, without these resources, is thus how to structure their operations to find other ways to balance exploration and exploitation to reach a certain degree of ambidexterity. A gap in the literature that was discovered was the practical implication of organizational ambidexterity in small organizations and how it influences their new product development (NPD), which is the purpose of this study. Furthermore, the connection to the corporate culture of firms that facilitate ambidextrous working was not adequately researched and was thus included in the aim of the research. To gather an in-depth understanding of the subject, a single case study with a qualitative research strategy was implemented, following an abductive research design. In addition, semi-structured interviews were conducted with managers and engineers to enable different perspectives on the subject. The findings from the interviews were then analyzed in relation to the gathered literature using thematic analysis. The empirical findings indicated that the organization, consistent with existing literature, faces challenges in achieving structural ambidexterity. Consequently, the case organization adopted a temporal approach to ambidexterity, prioritizing the mobilization of its entire staff for the most critical project at hand. Respondents revealed that this approach was driven by the urgent need for cash, but it ultimately yielded limited financial gains due to relying on existing intellectual property (IP) to meet short deadlines.
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