Linkages between human resource flexibility, ambidexterity and successful outcomes in the context of information technology firms
Sohani, Shrihari Suresh
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Management of alternate contexts that may arise due to a volatile exogenous environment can compel an organisation to explore new capabilities along with the exploitation of existing capabilities (O'Reilly and Tushman, 2013). This ability to handle paradoxical requirements, referred to as ambidexterity, has always been looked from a macro perspective and usually at the organisation or business unit level of analysis. The study aims to understand the management of alternate contexts at lower organisational levels in a project based technology firm. There is a need for studies at lower organisational levels such as at project and within project level (Tiwana, 2008). In this research, the focus is on within project dynamics including the role played by distributed actors in operationalising ambidexterity. The study utilises a mixed method approach and is conducted in two phases. In the first phase, an analysis of data collected from multiple sources is undertaken, including 232 usable responses on a survey using standard measures from project module leaders managing exploratory and exploitative modules in information technology (IT) projects. In the second phase, a qualitative approach is employed to understand the interaction between distributed actors that is the IT project leaders/module leaders and HR managers. From the results of both the phases, an overarching framework that incorporate interplay of actors, linkages between critical constructs that assist in operationalising ambidexterity within a project and their relationship with successful outcome is built. Our research makes a contribution to the ongoing discussions on the resource-based view (RBV) (for example, Hitt, Xu, & Carnes, 2015) and micro level human resource flexibility. Our study responds to one of the primary reservations regarding RBV, which is that the theory tends towards macro level orientation and a high degree of abstraction. A comprehensive review of literature allows us to state that our study is one of the early attempts in this direction that is necessary yet overlooked.
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