Achieving Contextual Ambidexterity in R&D Organizations: A Management Control System Approach

19 Pages Posted: 25 May 2011

See all articles by Ian P. McCarthy

Ian P. McCarthy

Simon Fraser University (SFU) - Beedie School of Business

Brian R. Gordon

Simon Fraser University (SFU)

Date Written: June 2011

Abstract

Research on how managers control R&D activities has tended to focus on the performance measurement systems used to exploit existing knowledge and capabilities. This focus has been at the expense of how broader forms of management control could be used to enable R&D contextual ambidexterity, the capacity to attain appropriate levels of exploitation and exploration behaviors in the same R&D organizational unit. In this paper, we develop a conceptual framework for understanding how different types of control system, guided by different R&D strategic goals, can be used to induce and balance both exploitation and exploration. We illustrate the elements of this framework and their relations using data from biotechnology firms, and then discuss how the framework provides a basis to empirically examine a number of important control relationships and phenomena.

Suggested Citation

McCarthy, Ian P. and Gordon, Brian R., Achieving Contextual Ambidexterity in R&D Organizations: A Management Control System Approach (June 2011). R&D Management, Vol. 41, Issue 3, pp. 240-258, 2011, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1852067 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9310.2011.00642.x

Ian P. McCarthy (Contact Author)

Simon Fraser University (SFU) - Beedie School of Business ( email )

8888 University Drive
Burnaby, British Columbia V5A 1S6
Canada

Brian R. Gordon

Simon Fraser University (SFU) ( email )

8888 University Drive
Burnaby, British Columbia V5A 1S6
Canada

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