Beedie School of Business News

Can ambidexterity, a trait that’s often associated with exceptional athletes, be applied to organizations — from biotech companies to government agencies — immersed in research and development? It’s a question recently put forth by researchers Ian McCarthy and Brian Gordon from the Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University.

Their article, entitled “Achieving contextual ambidexterity in R&D organizations: a management control system approach,” was published in the journal R&D Management. It points out that these organizations tend to find themselves juggling two contradictory modes of learning: ‘exploration’, a long-term activity involving risk and experimentation, and ‘exploitation’, characterized by short-term time horizons and a focus on refinement and efficiency.