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Structural ambidexterity and competency traps: Insights from Xerox PARC

Heracleous, L., Papachroni, A., Andriopoulos, C. & Gotsi, M. (2017). Structural ambidexterity and competency traps: Insights from Xerox PARC. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 117, pp. 327-338. doi: 10.1016/j.techfore.2016.11.014


We investigate the organizational dysfunctions that can interfere with the implementation of structural ambidexterity as a dynamic capability. We find that these dysfunctions give rise to competency traps characterized by interlinked cognitive, organizational and behavioral dimensions, that can severely compromise structural ambidexterity. Further, from the perspective of network ambidexterity, we also find that the inventions of the explorative unit can be treated as external to the focal organization, mirroring the dynamics of portfolio resources found in the context of strategic alliances. Our findings extend understanding of organizational ambidexterity as a dynamic capability, in particular how competency traps can severely compromise ambidexterity; and how network-like effects can adversely shape intra-firm dynamics.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2017. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Publisher Keywords: Structural ambidexterity, competency traps, technological innovation, network ambidexterity
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Departments: Bayes Business School > Management
Text - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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