Exploratory Innovation, Exploitative Innovation, and Ambidexterity: The Impact of Environmental and Organizational Antecedents

Schmalenbach Business Review, Vol. 57, pp. 351-363, October 2005

14 Pages Posted: 23 Nov 2005 Last revised: 4 Dec 2008

See all articles by Justin J. P. Jansen

Justin J. P. Jansen

Rotterdam School of Management

H. W. Volberda

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM); Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM)

Frans A. J. Van Den Bosch

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Department of Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship; Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM)

Abstract

Organizational ambidexterity (i.e., the ability to pursue exploratory and exploitative innovation simultaneously) is crucial to firm survival. In this study we explore how multiunit firms might develop ambidextrous organizational units in response to environmental demands. We examine how environmental and organizational antecedents affect a unit's level of organizational ambidexterity. Our study reveals that multiunit firms develop ambidextrous organizational units to compete in dynamically competitive environments. Moreover, we show that organizational units with decentralized and densely connected social relations are able to act ambidextrously and pursue exploratory and exploitative innovations simultaneously. Our study provides new insights how multiunit firms can cope with contradictorily pressures for exploratory and exploitative innovations.

Keywords: Ambidexterity, Exploration/Exploitation, Organizational and Environmental Antecedents

JEL Classification: M13, O31, O32

Suggested Citation

Jansen, Justin J. P. and Volberda, Henk W. and Van Den Bosch, Frans A. J., Exploratory Innovation, Exploitative Innovation, and Ambidexterity: The Impact of Environmental and Organizational Antecedents. Schmalenbach Business Review, Vol. 57, pp. 351-363, October 2005. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=852705

Justin J. P. Jansen (Contact Author)

Rotterdam School of Management ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
Room T08-21
3000 DR Rotterdam, 3000 DR
Netherlands
+31 10 408 97 82 (Phone)
+31 10 408 90 13 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.rsm.nl/jjansen

Henk W. Volberda

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
Room T08-21
3000 DR Rotterdam, 3000 DR
Netherlands
+31 10 408 2761 (Phone)
+31 10 408 9013 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.eur.nl/fbk/dep/dep4/faculty_members/Henk_Volberda

Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM)

P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands

Frans A. J. Van Den Bosch

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Department of Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship ( email )

RSM Erasmus University
Rotterdam, 3000 DR
Netherlands
+31 10 408 1955/2005 (Phone)
+31 10 453 0137 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.rsm.nl/fvandenbosch

Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM)

P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands

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