HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW these kinds of companies “ambidextrous organizations,” services, ambidextrous organizations were significantly. Citation: O’Reilly, Charles A., III, and Michael L. Tushman. “The Ambidextrous Organization.” Harvard Business Review 82, no. 4 (April ): 74– proposed that organizations need to explore and exploit simultaneously, to be ambidextrous. This observation has led to a very large number of.

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The authors discovered that the successful orgznization are those that separate new exploratory units from exploitive traditional units, but still keep a tightly linked executive team to manage the organizational separation.

Managers are expected to be able to explore new opportunities while also making steady improvements to what already exists.

Most companies are successful making steady improvements, but cannot succeed at innovation at the same time. The authors utilize Kodak as an example. Kodak has been successful with traditional photography, but has not been able to compete strongly in the digital camera market.

Maintaining several types of innovation is necessary for an organization to compete. The authors identified the following types of innovation:. Incremental innovations involve small improvements to an existing product or process to enhance efficiency. Architectural innovations involve incorporating new technology and processes to change business elements.

Discontinuous innovations occur when an advance is so powerful, it makes old products or processes obsolete.


The ambidextrous organization.

The type of innovation as well as the target market can be plotted on this matrix. Companies that pursue modest incremental innovations would be plotted on the lower left while breakthrough innovations would be plotted in the upper right area of the matrix.

Innovation breakthroughs can be integrated into existing functional designs and management structure. The final breakthrough structure is the aforementioned ambidextrous organization. Under this structure, the breakthrough is set up as an independent unit with its own culture, processes, and structure, but the unit is still integrated within the existing management hierarchy.

The structure of an ambidextrous organization allows the organization to share information and processes when needed while still maintaining separate units. Managerial coordination allows resources to be shared, but the organizational separation ensures that the new unit will not become just another part of the company.

The Ambidextrous Organization

The authors use two organizations, USA Today and Ciba Vision, as examples of how companies can renew themselves with breakthrough products without harming its existing business. Both companies were struggling to compete in their respective markets until they became ambidextrous organizations. The orgnaization are a few managerial and organizational characteristics of ambidextrous organizations such as USA Today and Ciba Ambidextroys in addition, see Exhibit 3 below:.

Senior managers must agree with and be committed to the network strategy involved in an ambidextrous organization. Project leaders must be willing to challenge the status quo. Senior leadership of different units must be tightly integrated and should keep each other informed of necessary information.


The ambidextrous organization.

Executive incentive programs involving the entire company are used organnization opposed to bonus programs tied to individual units. A clear vision is crucial in transforming a company into an ambidextrous organization.

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The Ambidextrous Organization

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