Ambidexterity under scrutiny: Exploration and exploitation via internal organization, alliances, and acquisitions

Uriel Stettner, Dovev Lavie*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

332 Scopus citations

Abstract

Prior research on ambidexterity has limited its concern to balancing exploration and exploitation via particular modes of operation. Acknowledging the interplay of tendencies to explore versus exploit via the internal organization, alliance, and acquisition modes, we claim that balancing these tendencies within each mode undermines firm performance because of conflicting routines, negative transfer, and limited specialization. Nevertheless, by exploring in one mode and exploiting in another, i.e., balancing across modes, a firm can avoid some of these impediments. Thus, we advance ambidexterity research by asserting that balance across modes enhances performance more than balance within modes. Our analysis of 190 U.S.-based software firms further reveals that exploring via externally oriented modes such as acquisitions or alliances, while exploiting via internal organization, enhances these firms' performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1903-1929
Number of pages27
JournalStrategic Management Journal
Volume35
Issue number13
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2014

Funding

FundersFunder number
Israel Science Foundation752/11

    Keywords

    • acquisition
    • alliance
    • exploration and exploitation
    • firm performance
    • internal organization
    • software industry

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