“In the past few years, I have been reading and thinking about how the current operating model of the modern organizations can change. And recently, I have started an extensive experiement in my function to see what I have read and thought make any difference. Here in this page, you can find my reflections on this topic.”
All of the modern business organizations of today share a common template, in other words a common operating system. Wherever you go in the world, whichever organization you see, you will come across with similar practices of management and organizing.
How can Organizations be Ambidextreous and Agile?
In modern organizations, change tends to be incremental. Big change is very difficult and traumatic when happens. As a result, they can not be responsive to change. Can they be both big and fast, reliable and flexible, efficient and entrepreneurial?
All organizations must be able to explore new opportunities while diligently exploiting existing ones, should they want to have a long life. In other words, they must be ambidextrous.
Why has corporate world begun to show such a big interest in agility? The main driver is apparently the need for being more adaptive and responsive in the increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) world. Should companies like to live longer, they must be as responsive as their competitive environments demand.
After analyzing several studies and reverse engineering several practices about organizational ambidexterity and agility, I arrived at this list of values and principles.
In the past few decades, organizations have been trying different structural approaches to achieve agility and do innovation. Each approach seems to prove useful in different contexts.
How can Organizations be Humanistic?
As the Dilbert cartoons express in an amplified way, the work life in the modern organizations has been a miserable and pointless activity for many. Can the work life in modern organizations be more meaningful and pleasant so that the people can put more of their potential out?
How can Organizations be Socio-Ecological?
Modern organizations contributed on a massive scale to depleting natural resources and destroying ecosystems. Maximizing shareholder value has always been the primary concern, and all the rest has been secondary. Is it possible for commercial organizations to genuinely care their social and ecological impact?
- ichael L. Tushman and Charles A. O’Reilly, “The Ambidextrous Organization: Managing Evolutionary and Revolutionary Change”, California Management Review, 38/4 (Summer 1996): 8-30)
- Ze-Lin He and Poh-Kam Wong, “Exploration vs. Exploitation: An Empirical Test of Ambidexterity”, Organization Science, 15/4 (July/August 2004): 481-494;
- Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, “Good Business: Leadership, Flow, and the Making of Meaning”, 2003
- Charles A. O’Reilly and Michael L. Tushman, “The Ambidextrous Organization”, Harvard Business Review, April 2004;
- Charles A. O’Reilly and Michael L. Tushman, “Ambidexterity As A Dynamic Capability: Resolving The Innovator’s Dilemma”, Research in Organizational Behavior, 28 (2008): 185–206
- Sebastian Raisch, Julian Birkinshaw, Gilbert Probst, and Michael L. Tushman, “Organizational Ambidexterity: Balancing Exploitation and Exploration for Sustained Performance” Organization Science, 20/4 (July/August 2009): 685-695;
- Frederic Laloux, “Reinventing Organizations”, 2014
- Julian Birkinshaw, Alexander Zimmermann, Sebastian Raisch, “How Do Firms Adapt to Discontinuous Change? Bridging The Dynamic Capabilities And Ambidexterity Perspectives”, California Management Review, 58/4 (Summer 2016): 36-58;
- Yan Chen, “Dynamic Ambidexterity: How Innovators Manage Exploration And Exploitation”, Business Horizons, 60/3 (May–June 2017): 385-394;
- Michele Zanini, Gary Hamel, “Humanocracy”, 2020