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Senaratne, Chaminda; Wang, Catherine (2016)
Languages: English
Types: Unknown
Subjects: N100, N900
The interaction between exploration and exploitation can affect firm performance. Ambidextrous firms possess higher exploratory and exploitative capabilities. The proposed trade-off between exploration and exploitation has not been empirically supported; it has been argued that two activities can have a co-evolutionary/cyclical relationship. To identify the nature of ambidexterity and the barriers to ambidexterity, we examine the possibility of achieving ambidexterity in high-tech SMEs. Our qualitative study includes 20 UK high-tech SMEs in five industries. High-tech SMEs, that are important in the current economic climate, possess advanced knowledge and technological capabilities. Generally, SMEs face competitive pressures to pursue exploration and exploitation concurrently. Our findings show that the proposed archetypes of ambidexterity may not hold for the high-tech SMEs, and it can be of contextual nature, and can occur within or across firms/organisations; there is a cyclical/reciprocal/co-evolutionary relationship between exploration and exploitation. We also identified some internal and external barriers to ambidexterity.
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