How do firms manage strategic dualities? A process perspective

Birkinshaw, J, Crilly, D, Bouquet, C and Lee, S Y (2015) How do firms manage strategic dualities? A process perspective. Academy of Management Discoveries, 2 (1). pp. 51-78. ISSN 2168-1007


In a complex business environment, firms frequently have to manage strategic dualities—pairs of imperatives that are equally important but to some degree in conflict with one another. While there is a sizable empirical and theoretical literature in this area, research that seeks to understand how firms manage strategic dualities in practice is underdeveloped. We address this gap in knowledge through a detailed longitudinal analysis of one firm, Softcorp, conducted in real time. Softcorp’s executives were faced with the well-known global integration/local responsiveness duality, which they sought to resolve by creating an unusual Dual Headquarters that oriented employees across the firm toward a dual focus on Europe and Asia. We describe the sequence of changes (which we label counterweight, hybrid engine, and flywheel) that allowed Softcorp to successfully achieve its dual orientation, and we describe how these findings can potentially contribute to several bodies of theory (paradox, ambidexterity, and the attention-based view of the firm) and also to management practice.

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Item Type: Article
Subject Areas: Strategy and Entrepreneurship
Date Deposited: 02 Mar 2016 18:51
Subjects: International business
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2022 10:24

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