WHAT IS AMBIDEXTERITY?

Ambidexterity

[ˌambɪdɛkˈstɛrɪti]

  1. When people are equally skillful with their left and their right hand;

  2. The art of simultaneously orchestrating exploitation and exploration, e.g. when companies improve their present business and simultaneously unlock future digital business opportunities

Ambidexterity Ambidextrie Julia Duwe
Ambidexterity as Mental Model for Digital Transformation

The concept of organizational ambidexterity provides an excellent mental model for the process of digital transformation. It uncovers the tension or trade-off between activities for exploitation and for exploration - for todays business and the future of digital solutions.

Types of Organizational Ambidexterity

Over the years different types of organizational ambidexterity have appeared.

  1. Sequential ambidexterity
    Temporal sequence of exploration and exploitation (e.g. one follows the other)

  2. Structural ambidexterity
    Local or organizational separation of exploration and exploitation (e.g. different business units)

  3. Contextual ambidexterity
    Contextual balancing of exploration and exploitation (e.g. simultaneous activities in one organizational unit)

  4. Intellectual ambidexterity
    Cross-over capability or talent of single persons (For further information read the interview with the American neuroscientist Nancy Andreasen at NPR.org)​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Literature to start with:

  • Duncan, Robert B. (1976): The Ambidextrous Organization: Designing Dual Structures for Innovation. In: Ralph H. Kilmann, Louis R. Pondy und Dennis P. Slevin (Hrsg.): The Management of Organization Design. New York [u.a.]: North-Holland, p. 167–188.