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Article
Publication date: 17 June 2021

Swarup Kumar Dutta and Saurav Snehvrat

The purpose of this paper is to explore the multi-level ambidexterity challenges through the metaroutine lens. Further, while confronting the ambidexterity challenges, it…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the multi-level ambidexterity challenges through the metaroutine lens. Further, while confronting the ambidexterity challenges, it is found that what is paradox at one level can be understood as tradeoffs at another level. This study uses an in-depth multi-level case study of Tata Motors, an Indian automotive giant highlighting the ambidexterity dynamics across strategic, business unit and functional levels to demonstrate that paradoxes at the strategic level are converted to manageable tradeoffs at the business unit/ operational level. Also, metaroutine-enabled ambidexterity explains a possible way through which multi-level ambidexterity can be promoted and managed within organizations.

Design/methodology/approach

This study uses a case-based methodology (Eisenhardt, 1989) similar to the approach of Adler et al. (1999). The field research consisted of in-depth interviews, which focus on gathering information from the key involved members in the field, thus enabling us to understand how multi-level ambidexterity is promoted within Tata Motors. A semi-structured interview guide was used to collect data for this study.

Findings

The metaroutine lens offers an alternative route to explain the multi-level ambidexterity dynamics at Tata Motors. The ambidexterity questions at different levels in Tata Motors seem to be a mixture of paradoxes and tradeoffs. However, a key trend emerges. At the strategic and business unit level, the firm wanted to exploit their existing products and explore new customer segments. At the product level, the strategic and NPI core team wanted to best combine the customer centric explorations with exploitations resulting in cost savings. The ambidexterity questions at these two levels seem to be paradoxes. However, as the authors analyze the functional domains, it appears that each individual domain was working under increased constraints. Hence, the ambidexterity questions at the domain level seem to be a tradeoff based on the constraints faced by individual functional domains.

Originality/value

This study presents an in-depth multi-level case study of an Indian automotive giant, Tata Motors. The authors present the role of metaroutines in shaping the ambidexterity issues during the development of passenger vehicles. This study builds on the seminal work of Adler et al., 1999, and extends the discussion to the framing of the ambidexterity question as a paradox and/or a tradeoff. The core argument of this paper is that balancing opposite polarities in business models is basically a paradoxical issue in the exploitation/ exploration relationship.

Details

International Journal of Organizational Analysis, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1934-8835

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 13 April 2018

Saurav Snehvrat and Swarup Dutta

The purpose of this paper is to explore the multi-faceted role of metaroutines in dealing with nested ambidexterity challenges experienced during new product introductions…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the multi-faceted role of metaroutines in dealing with nested ambidexterity challenges experienced during new product introductions (NPIs) at Tata Motors, an Indian automotive giant.

Design/methodology/approach

This study utilizes an in-depth multi-level case study highlighting the ambidexterity dynamics across strategic, business unit and functional levels.

Findings

The authors visualize the NPI system found in the firm, including the interactions between structure, process and governance, as a metaroutine. Based on this visualization, the authors argue that certain ostensive (like voice of customer, commonality) and performative (role of leadership and creative recombination) aspects of the metaroutine aid exploratory and exploitative learning across levels at Tata Motors. Further, the authors argue that the role of embedded NPI metaroutine aspects in promoting multi-level ambidexterity offers a distinct form when compared with other academically established forms of structural, contextual and temporal ambidexterity.

Practical implications

This study focuses on the aspects of the NPI metaroutine that enable ambidexterity within the studied firm. The authors argue that apart from the structural, temporal and contextual mechanisms, managers also need to focus on the nuances of NPI metaroutines and their potential to promote ambidexterity across levels.

Originality/value

The authors visualize the interactions between the process, structure and governance mechanisms, related to NPI, as a metaroutine. The authors argue that metaroutine enabled approaches to ambidexterity offer a distinct form when compared with other academically established forms of structural, contextual and temporal ambidexterity. Also, metaroutine enabled ambidexterity explains a possible way through which multi-level ambidexterity can be promoted and managed within organizations.

Details

Journal of Organizational Effectiveness: People and Performance, vol. 5 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2051-6614

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 14 May 2018

Saurav Snehvrat, Amit Kumar, Rahul Kumar and Swarup Dutta

The academic discipline of ambidexterity is recognized as an established field within strategic management and organization theory. Extant works in the field recognize the…

Abstract

Purpose

The academic discipline of ambidexterity is recognized as an established field within strategic management and organization theory. Extant works in the field recognize the recent burgeoning academic emphasis on ambidexterity and suggest either an impending focus or a decline of the field. Although there have been attempts to review the field of ambidexterity, most of these reviews have not followed a systematic and scientific approach for extricating the key themes emerging within. The purpose of the study is to inductively and systematically capture the main elements constituting the current boundary of the field.

Design/methodology/approach

To achieve the stated purpose, this study uses data/text mining to analyze abstracts of scholarly ambidexterity papers published over the past two decades (1997-2016) in academic journals. Using text-mining, lexical analysis is performed to compute the frequency distribution of words. The frequently occurring words are studied in detail and their association with ambidexterity is also studied by means of co-relation. This analysis (used for generation of first order themes) is then complemented by a manual analysis of each first order theme to come up with trends and sub-themes lying within.

Findings

The analysis extracts eight distinct themes that indicate the current boundary of ambidexterity research. The findings highlight the potential areas for future academic attention such as networks, business models, leadership, dynamic capability and their inter-linkages with the field of ambidexterity. Overall, the field of ambidexterity is receiving heightened academic interest coupled with a dynamic proliferation across a host of related management fields. Apart from the required future consolidation, the field also needs new insights to enhance its explanatory power.

Research limitations/implications

This study analyzes abstracts of 504 works on ambidexterity (in the last two decades) to inductively indicate the current boundaries of the field using a data/text mining approach. Papers that do not explicitly mention ambidexterity in their abstracts, title or keywords are not included in the analysis.

Practical implications

The insights of the analysis will not only help researchers but also offer practitioners a good view point about the myriad of paths (not restricted to contextual, structural and temporal) through which ambidexterity can be promoted within and at the organization level.

Originality/value

The three-fold contribution of this study is a systematic and scientific approach adopted to define the current boundary of the field of ambidexterity, followed by an exploration of a set of eight distinct themes and finally the identification of ongoing debates, research gaps and future research questions in light of the analysis performed.

Details

International Journal of Organizational Analysis, vol. 26 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1934-8835

Keywords

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