Ambidexterity

Lecture 4 - Corporate Entrepreneurship (BMSE04) 2019-2020


Date
December 6, 2019 13:00 — 16:00
Event
Lecture
Location
Erasmus Center for Entrepreneurship
Marconistraat 16, Rotterdam, 3029 AK
Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University

Description

This is the fourth lecture of the course Corporate Entrepreneurship (BMSE04) 2019-2020. The course is a mandatory component of the Master of Science (MSc) in Strategic Entrepreneurship programme and teaches students how organizations can balance advantage-seeking (strategic management) with opportunity-seeking (entrepreneurship) activities.

The theme of this lecture was ambidexterity: the ability of organizations to balance exploration and exploitation. Exploitation consists of the activities that build on the organization’s existing knowledge, skills, and capabilities. Exploration, in contrast, develops new knowledge, skills, and capabilities. We discussed the exploration-exploitation continuum and the importance of striking a balance.

There are two ways in which organizations can balance exploration and exploitation. First, they can stimulate contextual ambidexiterity in which individual employees divide their time between explorative and exploitative activities. The challenge here is managing contradictions within organizational units. The second approach is structural ambidexterity, in which organizations separate the units that are responsible for exploration and exploitation. In this case, coordinating across these units and managing contradictions at the senior management team are the main challenges.

Dutch Energy Case

During the second part of the lecture, our students worked on a case assignment. The case describes a situation in which a senior manager of a large energy firm pushes for organizational renewal and encounters several hurdles along the way. Karen Miedema, an innovation consultant at Jumping Fish , helped our students with the assignment and shared her knowledge about ambidextrous organizations.

Energy Case

Required Readings

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