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Evidence-based management for today’s “ambidextrous” organizations

Nicole C. Jackson (Menlo College in Atherton, California, USA)
Opal M.C. Leung (St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada)

Strategy & Leadership

ISSN: 1087-8572

Article publication date: 25 June 2018

Issue publication date: 26 July 2018




This paper examines how evidence based management (EBM) can help managers build more flexible organizations. In the context of this article, we define the need to build for this capacity around the challenge of “ambidexterity”, or the need for companies to continue operations while also allowing for innovation. We present a framework to help managers create strategies that help them build ambidexterity in their organizations, whether they operate in highly regulated, compliance driven or un-regulated, non-compliance climates.


This paper identifies four organizational design strategies each of which represents a different leadership and organization consideration that may focus on how evidence based management practices are linked to competency building (i.e., exploitation), the need innovation, or an equal balance between the two (i.e., ambidexterity).


Our findings reveal that an organization’s use of data given these four strategic orientations reflect different uses of data (verifiability and codification concerns) and ways of embedding compliance and ambidexterity (exploitation vs. exploration) considerations.

Practical implications

These four strategies help managers expose biases in their current decision-making practices, and how they subsequently may affect lifecycle, change management, and data practice in ambidexterity development.


While EBM acknowledges the importance of utilizing evidence, it remains limited toward understanding how it might be used to build for ambidexterity in organizations.



Jackson, N.C. and Leung, O.M.C. (2020), "Evidence-based management for today’s “ambidextrous” organizations", Strategy & Leadership, Vol. 46 No. 4, pp. 28-36.



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Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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