Essay on Managers Explore and Exploit

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Pages: 37

Organizational Ambidexterity in Action: How Managers Explore and Exploit Author(s): Charles A. O'Reilly III and Michael L. Tushman Reviewed work(s): Source: California Management Review, Vol. 53, No. 4 (Summer 2011), pp. 5-22 Published by: University of California Press Stable URL: . Accessed: 27/11/2011 04:22
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O’Reilly III is the Frank Buck Professor of Management at the Graduate tition, customers, and regulation. Second, they School of Business at Stanford University. must be able to act on these opportunities and threats; to be able to seize them by reconfigurMichael L. Tushman is the Paul Lawrence ing both tangible and intangible assets to meet MBA Class of 1942 Professor of Business new challenges.12 As a dynamic capability, ambiAdministration at the Harvard Business School. dexterity embodies a complex set of routines including decentralization, differentiation, targeted integration, and the ability of senior leadership to orchestrate the complex trade-offs that the simultaneous pursuit of exploration and exploitation requires. Developing these dynamic capabilities is a central task of executive leadership.



suMMER 2011


Organizational Ambidexterity in Action: How Managers Explore and Exploit

Although theoretically compelling, research on dynamic capabilities and ambidexterity is still at an early stage. Conceptually, the need for organizations to both explore and exploit is convincing, but how do managers and firms actually do this? At an operating level, how do the challenges of ambidexterity present themselves—and what differentiates the more successful attempts at ambidexterity from the less successful? To develop a more granular