Are design solutions sufficient to strategically manage the tensions key to long-term organizational survival? Managing the competing demands of exploration and exploitation represent a fundamental challenge for senior-leadership teams, but a growing body of research suggests that accommodating the mere co-presence of exploration and exploitation in separated units is not enough. Senior-leadership teams must also integrate and mobilize activities across units to achieve synergistic benefits; however, doing so is fraught with difficulty. We investigate and unpack this conundrum based on an in-depth ethnographic case within a media organization as the senior-leadership team transitioned toward greater synergistic integration of explore/exploit activities across differentiated units. We contribute to ambidexterity research by contrasting the dominant view of resolving tension in prior research with the view of valuing tension in our findings, and revealing the important role that senior-leadership team practices play in this regard. Furthermore, we show that the valuation practices of the senior-leadership team enable constructive divergence to be surfaced amongst the team, thereby extending prior work that has concentrated on the unifying aspects of the senior-leadership team to enable synergistic benefits.
- longitudinal case study