Organizational capacity for change and strategic ambidexterity: Flying the plane while rewiring it

  • Judge W
  • Blocker C
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Purpose – Successful firms must exploit existing markets while simultaneously exploring new market opportunities. However, skills required to do both simultaneously are often at odds with each other. To reconcile this dilemma, the authors aim to discuss the new concept of “strategic ambidexterity”, which is conceptualized as the ability to simultaneously pursue exploitation and exploratory strategies in ways that lead to enhanced organizational effectiveness.

Design/methodology/approach – The authors conceptually integrate literature from organizational theory, strategic management, and marketing to yield three new theoretical propositions.

Findings – It is argued that a relatively new dynamic capability, organizational capacity for change, is the primary antecedent of strategic ambidexterity and that this relationship is moderated by environmental uncertainty and organizational slack.

Originality/value – Most organizational and marketing theories rely on linear assumptions and models. However, twenty-first century organizations must reconcile competitive realities that are often nonlinear in nature. This study provides a conceptual framework which transcends traditional thinking, and provides a comprehensive yet concise framework for researching this new competitive reality further.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Critical success factors
  • Organizational change
  • Organizational effectiveness
  • Strategic planning

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  • William Q. Judge

  • Christopher P. Blocker

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