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Deploying ambidexterity through better management practices: an investigation based on high-variety, low-volume manufacturing

Mile Katic (Faculty of Engineering and IT, University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, Australia)
Dilek Cetindamar (Faculty of Engineering and IT, University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, Australia)
Renu Agarwal (UTS Business School, University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, Australia)

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management

ISSN: 1741-038X

Article publication date: 9 March 2021

Issue publication date: 27 April 2021

269

Abstract

Purpose

Whilst capabilities in exploiting existing assets and simultaneously exploring new opportunities have proven essential in today's organisations, an understanding of how these so-called ambidextrous capabilities are deployed remains elusive. Thus, the authors aim to investigate the role of better management practices (BMP), as organisational routines, in deploying ambidextrous capabilities in practice.

Design/methodology/approach

High-variety, low-volume (HVLV) manufacturers are adopted as exemplar ambidextrous organisations. A conceptual model was developed where BMP, including human resource management (HRM) and production planning and control (PPC), are considered as mediators in the relationship between ambidextrous capabilities and organisational performance outcomes. Partial least squares structural equation modelling was adopted to analyse the results of a survey undertaken by Australian HVLV manufacturers.

Findings

The results suggest that merely holding ambidextrous capabilities is not enough – demonstrating a fully mediating role of BMP between ambidextrous capabilities and HVLV manufacturer performance outcomes. However, the individual effects of PPC and HRM prove varied in their unique impact on HVLV manufacturer performance.

Practical implications

This study also provides a rare account of how HVLV manufacturers can leverage their inherently ambidextrous design towards greater organisational performance and highlights critical considerations in the selection of organisational capabilities.

Originality/value

By exemplifying the explanatory power of BMP in ambidextrous capability deployment, this study moves beyond the more prevalent stance on the links between BMP and ambidextrous capabilities as that of capability building through management practices, to one concerning the deployment of the capability itself.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to extend our sincere gratitude to the anonymous reviewers and the editor for their valuable feedback and suggestions.

Citation

Katic, M., Cetindamar, D. and Agarwal, R. (2021), "Deploying ambidexterity through better management practices: an investigation based on high-variety, low-volume manufacturing", Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, Vol. 32 No. 4, pp. 952-975. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMTM-07-2020-0276

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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