Organisational Ambidexterity and the Management Accountant: A Review

By Leon Duval

Dynamic external environments and the inexorable advances in computerisation have significantly curtailed the lifecycles of many products and services. The criteria applied for supporting and controlling innovation and development are diametrically opposite to those required for managing a mature capability focused on extracting maximum residual value out of a waning product.

For this reason, specialised architectures evolved to facilitate the nurture and support of both exploration and exploitation activities within one organisation. Organisations that successfully integrate the dual strategies and structures required are referred to as ambidextrous. Understanding the antecedent factors giving rise to organisational ambidexterity, becoming familiar with its various designs, and being aware of the conflicts the structures are designed to resolve, assists the management accounting practitioner to design appropriate systems for controlling these specialised architectures.

This review of the ambidextrous organisation literature explains the antecedents giving rise to organisational ambidexterity, discusses the models that have evolved and how they resolve the structural conflicts arising out of competing agendas.

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