Developing Ambidextrous Routines in the IT Service Provider Industry

Vieru, Dragos
Klein, Stefan
Bourdeau, Simon
Ntakirutimana, Jean-Bosco
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This study explores ambidextrous practices and distinctive leadership styles in interorganizational settings of two German medium sized IT service providers. We draw on the theory of routines-as-practices and on the organizational ambidexterity literature to analyze organizational practices aiming at both potential for change (exploration) and stability (exploitation). We identify two distinct modes of contextual ambidexterity, whereby one capability is used to improve the other, i.e. ‘exploration for exploitation’, an orientation towards continually improving the quality of the service delivery, and ‘exploration through exploitation’, an approach of project-driven learning. We highlight and classify a multi-layered repertoire of ambidextrous routines across the three levels of analysis: leadership, project team, and client relations. Our findings illustrate elaborate management repertoires of interventions with respect to culture, structures, policies or practices, which are aligned with the ecosystem within which both companies are operating.
Social-Technical Issues in Organizational Information Technologies, exploration-for-exploitation, exploration-through-exploitation, organizational ambidexterity, routines-as-practices, sme
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