The Implications of Autonomy and Control in Corporate Innovation Hubs: A Qualitative Case Study on the Estabilshment of Organizational Ambidexterity in Corporate Innovation Hubs

Frederik Johan Rørvold-Jørgensen & Anders Thim Henriksen

Student thesis: Master thesis


Through an explanatory study of a corporate innovation hub in the financial sector, this academic research project investigates the implications of autonomy and control on the establishment of organisational ambidexterity through a classification of the innovative drivers and their influence. This paper reports on how corporate innovation hubs search for external knowledge and onboard it through various absorption mechanisms by utilising an in-depth case study as the research methodology. More so, how these capabilities also function as drivers for innovative efficiency and aid in establishing organisational ambidexterity. To do so, this paper firstly identifies and analyses the innovative drivers (e.g., search effort and absorptive capacity) to establish how these are presented in the empirical evidence contrary to what literature prescribes. Secondly, classifying these to determine their significance for the establishment of organisational ambidexterity. Moreover, by introducing the concept of time, discuss the implications of autonomy and control on establishing organisational ambidexterity. The paper comes to find that the corporate innovation hub in question suffers significantly under the influence of their ties to the corporation exerting control, which is reflected in the magnitude of both their search effort and absorptive capacity. While the control exerted was not significant in the infant stages of their tenure, their need for claiming autonomy led them to over-compensate, weakening their ability to organise their operation effectively. Despite these findings, the paper concludes that the implications of autonomy control on the corporate innovation hub aided in the establishment of not organisational ambidexterity but sequential organisational ambidexterity encompassing the element of time. In doing so, their innovative drivers (e.g., search effort and absorptive capacity) thus functioned as temporal switching mechanisms bridging the era of exploratory activities with the era of exploitative activities. Thus, the academic research project concludes that the corporate innovation hub was under the illusion of autonomy while the control exerted by the corporation slowly eroded the innovative competencies of the organisation. This meant that the corporate innovation hub was only truly able to establish sequential organisational ambidexterity.

EducationsMSc in Management of Innovation and Business Development, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2021
Number of pages106
SupervisorsPaul Hünermund