What is Organization Ambidexterity?
Ambidexterity is the state of being equally adept at using both left and right hands. When applied to organizations, ambidexterity refers to a company's ability to explore new opportunities while exploiting existing ones.
O'Reilly and Tushman first proposed organizational ambidexterity in 2004. Since then, it has become an increasingly popular research topic within the organizational studies field. There are two primary types of organizational ambidexterity: structural and behavioral. Structural ambidexterity refers to how a company is organized, while behavioral ambidexterity refers to the actions and behavior of employees within the organization. For a company to be truly ambidextrous, it must excel at both types of ambidexterity.
For an organization to be ambidextrous, it must have two distinct but interconnected parts: an exploratory and an exploitative side. The exploratory side is responsible for generating new ideas and experimenting with new ways of doing things. On the other hand, the exploitative side is accountable for taking those ideas and turning them into tangible products or services.
These two sides must be well-connected; otherwise, there will be a disconnect between the organization's ability to generate new ideas and its ability to execute them. For example, suppose the exploratory side comes up with a great new product idea, but the exploitative side doesn't have the resources or expertise to bring it to market. In that case, the organization will never realize the full potential of that idea.
The key to organizational ambidexterity is finding the right balance between exploration and exploitation. Too much focus on either one can lead to problems down the road. For example, if an organization focuses too much on exploitation, it may become bogged down by bureaucracy and lose sight of its original mission. On the other hand, if an organization focuses too much on exploration, it may never bring any of its ideas to fruition. The key is striking a balance between these two activities so that both sides can work together effectively.
By Dean Miles
Keywords: Business Continuity, Mental Health, Startups