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How incentive synergy and organizational structures shape innovation ambidexterity

Qingqiang Zhang (School of Business Administration, Northeastern University, Shenyang, China)
Xinbo Sun (School of Business Administration, Northeastern University, Shenyang, China)

Journal of Knowledge Management

ISSN: 1367-3270

Article publication date: 26 May 2022

Issue publication date: 12 January 2023

650

Abstract

Purpose

Organizational incentives and structures play a crucial role in realizing explorative and exploitative innovations in firms. Existing studies have neglected the role of trade-off mechanisms between the two on innovation ambidexterity. This study aims to investigate these trade-off mechanisms and their position on innovation ambidexterity.

Design/methodology/approach

Given the limited theoretical understanding, the authors conducted a case study with a sample of two Chinese firms with abundant interview and secondary data.

Findings

The results show that firms can develop innovation ambidexterity at two levels, namely, the time and space levels, using incentive synergy as well as organizational structures. Furthermore, the authors explain the role of the trade-off between incentive synergy and organizational structure in promoting a balance between explorative and exploitative innovation.

Originality/value

The authors propose trade-off mechanisms between incentive synergy and organizational structure and explore how trade-off mechanisms can play a role in promoting a balance of explorative and exploitative innovation at both time and space levels.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors are very grateful to Dr Chin and the three anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments. Many thanks to the respondents of the two companies who were able to provide us with rich data. This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China [grant numbers 72172031, 71672029] and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities [grant number N2206002].Conflict of interest: The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.

Citation

Zhang, Q. and Sun, X. (2023), "How incentive synergy and organizational structures shape innovation ambidexterity", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 27 No. 1, pp. 156-177. https://doi.org/10.1108/JKM-11-2021-0847

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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