Contextual Ambidexterity

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2.4.5 THE LINK BETWEEN STRUCTURAL AND CONTEXTUAL AMBIDEXTERITY: WHY CONTEXTUAL AMBIDEXTERITY SUPERCEDE STRUCTURAL ONE?

Although structural separation is necessary as each of exploration and exploitation activities are completely different, it can result in isolating of each organizational unit/function because structural ambidexterity relies more on manager’s decision to divide the time or task of employees between exploratory and exploitative activities whereas contextual ambidexterity brings about an environment in which every employees can decide whether to do exploration or exploitation(Chaharmahali & Siadat1, 2010). As a result, contextual ambidexterity should be considered as a complement to structural ambidexterity (Gibson and Birkinshaw14,
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It is the top management who shapes the context through systems, incentives, controls and actions which they take on a day to day basis and subsequently reinforced through the behaviour and attitude of the employees throughout the organisation. Ghoshal and Bartlett1 (1994) argue that four sets of attributes-stretch, discipline, support and trust interact to define an organization context. Gibson and Birkinshaw16 (2004) antecedents conducted another empirical study on the contextual factors and further reduced down the four dimensions into two through factor analysis. They are performance management (combination of stretch and discipline) and social support (combination of trust and support). Performance management is concerned with stimulating people to reach out to maximum and deliver quality products or outputs. Social support is concerned with providing people with the security and latitude they need to perform. PM and SS are not independent. These two factors are mutually reinforcing and interdependent. Literatures recognise that a strong presence of both creates a high performance context which in turn is a true facet of ambidextrous organisation (Gibson and Birkinshaw17, 2004)Building ambi. In other words, ambidextrous organisations are characterised by high performance context …show more content…
Discipline can be exhibited by consistently completing projects that meet stakeholder requirements on time and within budget and by ensuring that the existing project portfolio is well managed, resources are appropriately distributed, and under-performing activities are reined in or terminated. Stretch, by contrast, encourages software organizations to work hard to add value to their customers and to alter investments based on new technology or market options. However, where stretch is not balanced with discipline, software organizations can experience problems, for example by adding unnecessary functionality to products (i.e., feature creep) or by allowing the scope of projects to expand to the point where they become unprofitable (i.e., scope creep). Successful software management also requires a context with strong social support. For instance, software development depends heavily on the level of trust that designers and managers build with customers and future users (Sabherwal, 1999). Also, ensuring appropriate quality in software products requires managers to provide expert support, for example in the form of peer reviews (Weinberg & Freedman, 1982). In fact, the essence of managing software organizations is arguably to create an environment in which designers and engineers become empowered to develop customized and packaged

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