Institutional Ambidexterity: Leveraging Institutional Complexity in Practice

Paula Jarzabkowski, Michael Smets, Rebecca Bednarek, Gary T Burke, Paul Spee

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This chapter develops a practice approach to institutional ambidexterity. In doing so it first explores the ‘promise’ of institutional ambidexterity as a concept to address shortcomings within the institutional theory treatment of complexity. However, we argue that this is an empty promise because ambidexterity remains an organisational level construct that neither connects to institutional level, or to the practical actions and interactions within which individuals enact institutions. We therefore suggest a practice approach that we develop into a conceptual framework for fulfilling the promise of institutional ambidexterity. The second part of the chapter outlines what a practice approach is and the variation in practice-based insights into institutional ambidexterity that we might expect in contexts of novel or routine institutional complexity. Finally, the chapter concludes with a research agenda that highlights the potential of practice to extend institutional theory through new research approaches to well-established institutional theory questions, interests and established-understandings.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to) 37-61
    JournalResearch in the Sociology of Organizations
    Issue numberPart B
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


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