Pursuing "Flexible Commitment" as Strategic Ambidexterity: An Empirical Justification in High Technology Firms

Yiannis Kouropalatis*, Paul Hughes, Robert E. Morgan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: Firms face high velocity conditions today that render product market strategies increasingly temporal. Strategic flexibility is critical for enabling rapid adaptation to a changing environment. At the same time, managerial commitment to product-market strategy signifies the extent to which a manager comprehends and supports the strategy and reflects a necessary sense of ownership for any chosen product-market strategy. The purpose of this paper, then, is to examine strategically ambidextrous firms through the twin lenses of flexibility and commitment to determine whether performance benefits accrue from such characteristics. Design/methodology/approach: While traditional research streams examine strategic flexibility and commitment to product-market strategy as opposing ends of a continuum, this paper adopts a broader perspective and examines strategic flexibility and commitment to product-market strategy as elements of strategically ambidextrous firms. Cluster analysis is used to identify groups of high and low strategically ambidextrous firms. Findings: Strategically ambidextrous firms exhibit commitment to product-market strategy, which enables the effective realisation of selected strategies through focusing managerial attention and firm resources, and strategic flexibility, which enables adaptation of the planned product-market strategy based on feedback received, or abandonment followed by new strategic choices and impetus. The paper reveals that firms with high strategic ambidexterity exhibit significantly greater levels of strategic resources, decentralisation, product-market strategy process effectiveness, and implementation effectiveness compared with low ambidexterity firms. Thus, strategic ambidexterity is revealed to endow significant performance benefits. Originality/value: This paper addresses the need to examine ambidexterity as "flexible commitment".

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Marketing
Volume46
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)1389-1417
Number of pages29
ISSN0309-0566
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Product-market strategy
  • Strategic process
  • Ambidexterity
  • Flexibility
  • Commitment
  • Business performance
  • Corporate strategy

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