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Ambidextrous Organisations: Managing Evolutionary and Revolutionary Change.

“Why is anything but incremental change often so difficult for the most successful organisations’. P170

Michael L. Trushman, Charlse A. O’Reilly III

To remain successful over long periods managers and organisations must be ambidextrous – able to implement both incremental and revolutionary change.

“Holding aside the pressures of growth and success, managers must continually readjust their strategies and realign their organisations to reflect the underlying dynamics of technological change in their markets’. P175

Faced with a discontinuity, the option of incremental change is not likely to be viable. The danger is that facing a discontinuous change, firms that have been successful may suffer from life-threatening inertia – inertia that results from the very congruence that made the firm successful in the first place.

“Older, larger firms develop structural and cultural inertia – the organisational equivalent of high cholesterol’. P176

Figure 14.2 Fit – Success

Needs, like BA ‘putting people first’ and ‘managing people first’.

Like IBM 179

‘A culture characterised by an inward focus, extensive procedures for resolving issues though consensus and “push back,” an arrogance bred by previous success, and a sense of entitlement that guaranteed jobs without a reciprocal quid pro quo by some employees’. P179

‘Preoccupied with internal procedures rather than understanding the reality of the changing market’ p179

Proud, inward looking and resistant to change.

Organisational culture is key to both short-term success and , unless managed correctly, long term failure. P179

‘The issue of actively managing organisational cultures that can handle both incremental and discontinuous changes is perhaps the most demanding aspect in the management of strategic innovation and change’, p 180

Ambidextrous organisations.:

  • Hewlett-Packard
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • ABB
  • ABB has 5,000 profit centres, 50 people in each

‘Keep units small and autonomous so that employees feel a sense of ownership and are responsible for their own results’. P180

Needs, sweeping cultural change.

What I see is like multiple and frequent separation then divorce.

Andy Grove of Intel

‘There is at least one point in the history of any company when you have to change dramatically to rise to the next performance level. Miss the moment and you start to decline.’

S.Sherman. Andy Drove@ how Intel Makes Spending Pay off. Fortune 22, 1993, p.58

Problems all small business face. Bolton. 1971

  • Obtaining Finance
  • Learning to delegate
  • Market
  • Apply cost control


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