Organisational Ambidexterity in UK High-Tech SMEs: An Exploratory Study of Key Drivers and Barriers

Chaminda Senaratne, Catherine L. Wang

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    19 Citations (Scopus)
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    This study is to explore the nature of organisational ambidexterity, and identify drivers of and barriers to ambidexterity in the high-tech SMEs in the UK, using fine-grained qualitative evidence. This is much needed to generate insights on how organisational ambidexterity actually takes place in SMEs.

    This study is exploratory in nature, based on qualitative in-depth interview data collected from 20 UK high-tech SMEs in five industries.

    The results reveal that SMEs leverage resources through intra-firm and inter-firm collaborations to pursue ambidexterity sequentially or simultaneously, using a range of drivers and overcoming a range of barriers. The data were gathered from a single informant from each firm. Therefore, more in-depth, longitudinal, qualitative research using multiple sources of data may be required to develop deeper insights into ambidexterity. Managers of high-tech SMEs need to focus on specific barriers to ambidexterity and devise effective mechanisms to promote the drivers of ambidexterity. The mechanisms to achieve ambidexterity as identified in this study will benefit high-tech SMEs in particular, and firms in general. The study contributes to the understanding of organisational ambidexterity in high-tech SMEs by exploring the mechanisms through which SMEs implement organisational ambidexterity despite their resource constraints. This counteracts the conventional view that it is difficult for SMEs to pursue ambidexterity.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1025-1050
    JournalJournal of Small Business and Enterprise Development
    Issue number6
    Early online date13 Sept 2018
    Publication statusPublished - 19 Nov 2018


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