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Balanced Control as an Enabler of Organizational Ambidexterity

Organization Design

ISBN: 978-1-78756-330-8, eISBN: 978-1-78756-329-2

Publication date: 10 December 2018


The authors examine how firms can achieve organizational ambidexterity, that is, how they can successfully engage in concurrent exploitation of existing competencies and exploration of new competencies in their search for new products. Existing research has identified three enablers to manage these fundamentally different activities: temporal separation, structural separation, and the creation of context. Studying the strategic orientation, organization design, and performance of a unique sample of mid-sized German manufacturing firms, the authors find that the controlled interplay of decentralized decision making and formalized processes and goals is another effective means to manage the challenges of pursuing an innovation strategy balancing both exploitative and exploratory activities. The findings of this study suggest that this balanced control constitutes a fourth enabler of ambidexterity.




We would like to thank the editor, Rich Burton, and two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments. Insightful suggestions from Julia Ebert helped to improve earlier versions of this chapter. Further, we would like to express our gratitude to Adiam Schoch for her valuable research assistance and to Amina Cardaklija, Saskia Hasreiter, Melanie Köttner, and Susanne Wild for supporting the data collection.


Aschenbrücker, K. and Kretschmer, T. (2018), "Balanced Control as an Enabler of Organizational Ambidexterity", Organization Design (Advances in Strategic Management, Vol. 40), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 115-144.



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