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Publication Detail
How do firms manage strategic dualities? A process perspective
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
  • Authors:
    Lee SY, Birkinshaw J, Crilly D, Bouquet C
  • Journal:
    Academy of Management Discoveries
  • Volume:
    in press
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 towards 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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