How can an Ambidextrous Approach be helpful when changing organizational structure? Would another approach be more helpful? If so, how? If not, why not?
Organizational structure must rely on company’s ability to not achieve success in today’s market, but must also plan for the future market. This two headed construct addresses ambidexterity within an organization and its ability to execute today and plan for tomorrow. Imagine of Apple stopped planning for the future and the iPhone 7 was the last product made. Sure the iPhone 7 would continue its wild success, but would be short lived without the organization forward looking approach in the technological field. Tushman and Euchner (2015) argued that for organizations that can exploit the current market and explore future uncertainly do extremely well. Taylor and Helfat (2009) identified four critical influences that ambidexterity needed to address that included economic, structure, social, and cognitive linking between exploiting and exploration. For ambidexterity to work, one must be able to operate with the synergies of two worlds (Tushman&Euchner, 2015). In this way, ambidexterity, while not without its challenging, but addressing change in a way that represents now and the future makes sound sense.
Taylor, A., &Helfat, C. E. (2009). Organizational Linkages for Surviving Technological Change: Complementary Assets, Middle Management, and Ambidexterity. Organization Science, 20(4), 718-739.
Tushman, M. m., &Euchner, J. e. (2015). The Challenges of Ambidextrous Leadership. Research Technology Management, 58(3), 16-20.
The origins of ambidextrous approach may be traced to the work of Duncan (1976), who proposed that a dual structure to deal with paradox of stability and change (Vinekar, Slinkman&Nerur, 2006). They go on to say that ambidextrous approach is helpful when changing organizational structure by keeping culture, individuals and organizational arrangements consistent. In addition it allows for traditional systems to incorporate agile development without interrupting its existing organization. Transitioning from one system to another can always bring many difficulties. However ambidextrous approach makes it possible for organization to maintain their current system but use elements from another system to make to organization more efficient. According to research literature ambidextrous approach is one of the most effective systems that turns constrains into strengths. Ambidextrous approach allows the organization to benefit from its own organizational characteristics of culture and personnel (Vinekar et al. 2006). Ambidextrous system is one of the few approaches that allow organizations to acquire benefits from both traditional and agile organizational systems.
Vinekar, V., Slinkman, C. W., &Nerur, S. (2006). Can agile and traditional systems development approaches coexist? An ambidextrous view. Information Systems Management, 23(3), 31-42.
An Ambidextrous Approach can be helpful when changing an organizational structure because organizations are able to pursue and reap the benefits of a dual structure organization (Vinekar, Slinkman, &Nerur, 2006). Organizations have the best of both worlds. They create an environment that fosters creativity and innovative thinking with collaborative teams while ensuring that the implementation process is followed using a mechanistic approach. What good is an innovative idea if it is never carried out?
This approach appears to be quite helpful when changing organizational structure, however, it all depends on the organization. Leaders must consider size, culture, type, and the objective of the organization.
Vinekar, V., Slinkman, C. W., &Nerur, S. (2006). CAN AGILE AND TRADITIONAL SYSTEMS DEVELOPMENT APPROACHES COEXIST? AN AMBIDEXTROUS VIEW. Information Systems Management, 23(3), 31-42.
Escaping real (non-benign) competency traps: linking the dynamics of organizational structure to the dynamics of search
NicolajSiggelkow and Daniel A. Levinthal
Strategic Organization, February 2005; vol. 3, 1: pp. 85-115.
A transition to an ambidextrous structure avoids these information costs at the division level, but requires this information at the top team level.
this structure requires another managerial level, requires additional approval meetings, and can lead also to disgruntled division managers who might be blocked by top management from implementing alternatives that are good for their divisions (but harmful for the firm as a whole).
Suzanne M. Carter and Charles R. Greer
Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, November 2013; vol. 20, 4: pp. 375-393., first published on January 15, 2013
One of the most important lessons is that ambidextrous organizations need ambidextrous senior teams and managers—executives who have the ability to understand and be sensitive to the needs of very different kinds of businesses.
The Ambidextrous Organization
Charles A. O’Reilly IIIMichael L. Tushman
FROM THE APRIL 2004 ISSUE