Article | Organization Science | July – August 2009

Organizational Ambidexterity: Balancing Exploitation and Exploration for Sustained Performance

by Sebastian Raisch, Julian Birkinshaw, Gilbert Probst and Michael Tushman


Organizational ambidexterity has emerged as a new research paradigm in organization theory, yet several issues that are fundamental to this debate remain controversial. We explore four central tensions here: Should organizations achieve ambidexterity through differentiation or through integration? Does ambidexterity occur at the individual or organizational level? Must organizations take a static or dynamic perspective on ambidexterity? Finally, can ambidexterity arise internally or do firms have to externalize some processes? We provide an overview of the seven articles included in this special issue and suggest several avenues for future research.

Keywords: Change; Innovation and Invention; Business Processes; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Organizational Design; Organizational Structure; Research; Integration;


Raisch, Sebastian, Julian Birkinshaw, Gilbert Probst, and Michael Tushman. "Organizational Ambidexterity: Balancing Exploitation and Exploration for Sustained Performance." Organization Science 20, no. 4 (July–August 2009): 685–695.