Management control’s implications of the exploitation/exploration dilemma: empirical evidences from a fast-moving consumer goods company
Farjaudon, Anne-Laure; Soulerot, Marion (2007), Management control’s implications of the exploitation/exploration dilemma: empirical evidences from a fast-moving consumer goods company, 30th Annual Congress of the European Accounting Association, 2007-05, Lisbonne, Portugal
TypeCommunication / Conférence
Conference title30th Annual Congress of the European Accounting Association
MetadataShow full item record
Abstract (EN)Exploiting existing resources or exploring new ones is an old dilemma. As exploitation consists in “the refinement and extension of existing competences, technologies and paradigms” (March, 1991, p. 85) and exploration means “experimentation with new alternatives” (March, 1991, p. 85), these two concepts have firstly been treated as two exclusive strategies. The organizational learning perspective has later moved this dilemma to the organizational level leading to a consensus about the need for doing both. The way firms strive for a balance between the two has so became a salient issue in organizational research. Doing both gave birth to the ambidexterity concept that “refers to the synchronous pursuit of both exploration and exploitation via loosely coupled and differentiated subunits or individuals, each of which specializes in either exploration or exploitation.” (Gupta, Smith and Shalley, 2006, p. 693). This structural differentiation is the main argument of scholars dealing with the ambidexterity issue. However, management control implications of this organizational prescription remain ambiguous. Traditional management control is supposed to be closely linked to exploitation whereas it is assumed to slow down innovation. The question we address in this study is: how do firms control ambidexterity? In a first part, we investigate the theoretical construction of the ambidexterity debate from the originally exploitation/exploration dilemma. This paper presents, in a second part, an empirical study based on qualitative interviews that provide rich data on this phenomenon in a multinational fastmoving consumer goods company. The study shows empirical evidence of the specific management controller’s role as the conductor of the ambidexterity symphony. The implications of our findings for the ambidexterity debate are discussed and directions for future research are highlighted.
Subjects / KeywordsDilemme exploitation/exploration; Contrôleur de gestion; management control, exploration, exploitation, ambidexterity; Ambidexterity; Management control; Management conrolleur role; Ambidextérité
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