An integrated view of ambidexterity at the team and individual level: A case study of precursors for ambidexterity in forming a new division and the balancing act between exploration and exploitation along the way

Mark V. Kristiansen

Student thesis: Master thesis


In this paper I investigate the factors leading to the creation of ambidextrous competency, in the creation of a new division. Additionally it is investigated how the pressures of engaging in exploration and exploitation simultaneously is handled in the case setting of a young team, in the labor union and unemployment fund Business Danmark. The paper is based on a case study approach which incorporates interviews with team members, the manager of the overall communication department and the former manager of the division as well as my own observations as participant in the setting. This is investigated from different time horizons. First, I look at the time from the division were created until present day, where I find that the division goes through years of extended focus of both objectives, effectively engaging in a temporal strategy for ambidexterity. Second, I look at a full yearly work-cycle looking at inter-temporal mechanism for managing the two objectives, where I find that contextual ambidexterity is present in all activities, but that the division also engages in some degree of inter-temporal cycling of extended focus, to better match the demands of their market in the given months. This paper also investigates from multiple levels, first looking at the organizational context the division is situated in, then how the balance is achieved in the division, and lastly how the individual team members handle the pressures. It is found that a good fit between organizational context, team context and individual perceptions of the context exist, even though the division is fundamentally differently geared than the rest of the organization.

EducationsMSocSc in Management of Creative Business Processes , (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2015
Number of pages122