Original Research

Dynamic strategy: Investigating the ambidexterity–performance relationship

Madeleine Jacobs, Rachel Maritz
South African Journal of Business Management | Vol 51, No 1 | a1643 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajbm.v51i1.1643 | © 2020 Madeleine Jacobs, Rachel Maritz | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 07 June 2019 | Published: 09 March 2020

About the author(s)

Madeleine Jacobs, Department of Business Management, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Rachel Maritz, Department of Business Management, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

Purpose: This study aims to determine whether organisations in emerging economic contexts demonstrate ambidexterity for sustainable performance in the long term and what the effects of environmental turbulence are on the ambidexterity and sustainable performance relationship.

Design/methodology/approach: This study used self-administered questionnaires and telephonic surveys. The sample consisted of profit-seeking organisations from many different industries within South Africa, including, but not limited to, manufacturing, business services, finance, hospitality and tourism, and retail and wholesale. The research was conducted during the 2017 financial year.

Findings/results: It was found that moderate to strong relationships exist between the two sub-dimensions of ambidexterity and sustainable performance. The findings depict a strong relationship between exploration and exploitation as the sub-dimensional constructs of ambidexterity, reinforcing existing literature on simultaneous exploration and exploitation. There was no statistically significant information, indicating that environmental turbulence moderates the ambidexterity and sustainable performance relationship.

Practical implications: Considering the strong positive relationship between the two sub-dimensions of ambidexterity and sustainable organisational performance, it is advisable for management of South African organisations to focus on ambidextrous strategies for sustaining performance in turbulent environments.

Originality/value: This study contributes to the limited body of knowledge investigating ambidexterity as a dynamic capability in an emerging economic context. Moreover, this study contributes to clarify the ambidexterity and sustainable performance relationship in terms of whether organisations can simultaneously explore and exploit and what type of relationship exists between ambidexterity and sustainable performance as previous studies delivered mixed results.


Keywords

sustainable performance; ambidexterity; dynamic strategy; dynamic capabilities; environmental turbulence.

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