Ambidexterity, organizational structure, and types of innovations in technological R&D institutes in Brazil

Marcos Antonio Franklin, Silvio Popadiuk


Objective: This study examines how the organizational structure - mechanistic or organic - and exploration and exploration can contribute to explaining the radical and incremental innovations in research and development institutes (P&D) of technology, aimed at products and services related to the Internet, software, hardware, telecommunications (Telecom), information technology (IT) and automation.

Methodology: The research was carried out in two phases: Qualitative with four case studies, two cases of national institutes, one private and one public, and two multinational private institutes located in Brazil. The quantitative used a closed questionnaire applied to 17 institutions.

Originality / Relevancy: A justification for the selection of TR&DI based on the fact that the literature on exploration, exploitation, organizational structure, and innovation shows that the areas of P&D of organizations, as well as high technology businesses, must be structured organically. Due to the need for decentralization, more fluid communications, greater autonomy, and the creation of knowledge are necessary as you flourish in turbulent and unstable environments.

Main results: The results will reveal a predominance of the organic model in 19 two 21 institutes studied, using both stages. However, it seems that, despite strong guidance for the organic model, there are elements of the mechanistic model: the ability to combine bureaucracy will lose the necessary flexibility. This study reveals that when two models of organizational structures and exploration and exploitation are discussed, there is a gap between theory and application.

Theoretical/methodological contributions: The study describes the analysis of the position of institutes in relation to obtaining, generating, and implementing expertise, examining how their organizational structures are configured to carry out related activities in a suitable way for exploration, exploration, and development of innovation in development. you root and increase.

Social contributions / for management: In practical terms, this study is relevant because it allows managers and government institutions to establish and implement innovative policies and procedures in this type of technology center. These implications are related to decision-making processes, knowledge creation, guidance for exploration, exploration, ambidexterity, and types of innovation. Consequently, it can be presumed that the organizational structure of these orientations can be mixed. By these arguments, we understand that innovation, ambidexterity (exploration and exploitation), and organizational structure have a strong relationship.


Research and Development; Exploration; Exploitation; Ambidexterity; Innovation Technology.


ABIPTI. Associação Brasileira das Instituições de Pesquisa Tecnológica. Retrieved on Jnauary 20, 2018, from

ANPEI - Associação nacional de pesquisa, desenvolvimento e engenharia das empresas Inovadoras. Retrieved on January 20, 2018 from .

Bardin, L. (1994). Análise de conteúdo. Lisboa: Edições 70.

Benner, M. J., & Tushman, M. L. (2003). Exploitation, exploration, and process management: the productivity dilemma revisited. The Academy of Management Review, 28, 238-256.

Bertalanffy, L. von. (1968). General systems theory. George Braziller, New York.

Birkinshaw, J., Zimmermann, A., & Raisch, S. (2016). How do firms adapt to discontinuous change? California Management Review, 58(4), 36-58.

Bowditch, J. L., & Buono, A. F. (2000). Elementos de comportamento organizacional. Pioneira, São Paulo.

Brasken (ethanol) (2018). Retrieved on January 20, 2018.

Bunge (2018) Retrieved on January 20, 2018.

Burns, T., & Stalker, G. M. (1994). The management of innovation. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Cao, Q., Gedajlovic, E., & Zhang, G. H. (2009). Unpacking organizational ambidexterity: dimensions, contingencies, and synergistic effects. Organization Science, 20(4), 781-796.

Cargill (2018) Retrieved on January 20, 2018.

Carter, W. R. (2015). Ambidexterity deconstructed: a hierarchy of capabilities perspective. Management Research Review, 38(8), 794–812.

Chandler, A. D. (1962). Strategy and structure: chapters in the history of American Industry Enterprise. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.

Creswell, J. W. (1998). Qualitative inquiry and research design: choosing among fives traditions. Sage Publications, London-UK.

Daft, R. L. (2005). Administração. (6ª. ed.) Thomson, São Paulo.

Dosi, G. (2006). Mudança técnica e transformação industrial: a teoria e uma aplicação à indústria dos semicondutores. Ed. UNICAMP, Campinas-SP.

Duncan, R. B. (1976). The ambidextrous organization: Designing dual structures for innovation, In R. H. Kilman, L. R. Pondy, & D. P. Slevin (Eds), The management of organization design. Vol. 1, Strategies and implementation (pp.167-188). New York North-Holland Elsevier.

Embraer (2018). Retrieved on January 20, 2018.

Enkel, E., Heil, S., Hengstler, M., & Wirth, H. (2017). Exploratory and exploitative innovation: To what extent do the dimensions of individual-level absorptive capacity contribute? Technovation, 60–61(August 2015), 29–38.

Fang, E., Palmatier, R. W., & Grewal, R. (2011). Effects of customer and innovation asset configuration Strategies on Firm Performance. Journal of Marketing Research. XLVIII (June), 587–602.

Fernhaber, S. A., & Patel, P. C. (2012). How do young firms manage product portfolio complexity? the role of absorptive capacity and ambidexterity. Strategic Management Journal, 33(13), 1516–1539.

Flatten, T. C., Engelen, A., Zahra, S. A., & Brettel, M. (2012). A measure of absorptive capacity: Scale development and validation. European Management Journal, 29, 98– 116.

Flick, U. (2009). Desenho da pesquisa qualitativa. Porto Alegre. Artmed.

García-Lillo, F., Úbeda-García, M., & Marco-Lajara, B. (2016). Organizational ambidexterity: exploring the knowledge base. Scientometrics, 107(3), 1021-1040.

Zimmermann, A., & Birkinshaw, J. (2016). Reconciling Capabilities and Ambidexterity Theories: A Multi-level Perspective. Oxford Handbooks Online, (1), 1–24.

Guerra, R. de A., Tondolo, V. G., & Camargo, M. E. (2016). O Que (Ainda) Podemos Aprender sobre Capacidades Dinâmicas. Revista Ibero-Americana de Estratégia, 15(1), 44–64.

Gupta, A. K., Smith, K. G., & Shalley, C. E. (2006). The interplay between exploration and exploitation, Academy of Management Journal, 49(4), 693–706.

Hall, R. H. (2004). Organizações estrutura e processos. Prentice Hall do Brasil, Rio de Janeiro.

Hampton, D. R.(1992). Administração contemporânea. (3ª. ed.) Makron Books, São Paulo.

Hair, Jr. F. (2006). Fundamentos de métodos de pesquisa em administração. Bookman, Porto Alegre-RS.

Jansen, J. P., van den Bosch, F. A. J., & Volberda, H. W. (2006). Exploratory innovation, exploitative innovation, and performance: effects of organizational antecedents and environmental moderators. Management Science, 58, 1661-1674.

Kanter, R. M. (1988). When a thousand flowers bloom: Structural, collective, and social conditions for innovation in organizations. In B. M. Straw & L. L. Cummings (Eds.), Research in Organizational Behavior, 10, 123-167.

Kast, F., & Rosenzweig, J. (1980). Organização e administração em enfoque sistêmico. (2ª. ed.) Pioneira, São Paulo.

Kriz, A., Voola, R., & Yuksel, U. (2014). The dynamic capability of ambidexterity in hyper-competition: qualitative insights. Journal of Strategic Marketing, 22(4), 287-299. Retrieved from

Li, D., & Liu, J. (2014). Dynamic capabilities, environmental dynamism, and competitive advantage: Evidence from China. Journal of Business Research, 67(1), 2793–2799.

Lowik, S., Rietberg, A., & Visser, M. De. (2016). Resolving the paradox of ambidextrous R & D routines : how to turn engineers into chameleons, (July), 1–13.

Maijanen, P., & Virta, S. (2017). Managing exploration and exploitation in a media organization–A capability-based approach to ambidexterity. Journal of Media Business Studies, 14(2), 146-165.

Malerba, F., & Orsenigo, L. (1997). Technological Regimes and Sectoral Patterns of Innovative Activities, Industrial and Corporate Change, 6(1).83-117.

March, J. G. (1991). Exploration and exploitation in organizational learning. Organizational Science, 2, 71-87.

Mathivathanan, D., Govindan, K., & Haq, A. N. (2017). Exploring the impact of dynamic capabilities on sustainable supply chain firm’s performance using the Grey-Analytical Hierarchy Process. Journal of Cleaner Production, 147, 637–653. .

Maximiano, A. C. A. (1995). Além da hierarquia: como implementar estratégias participativas para administrar a empresa enxuta. Atlas, São Paulo.

MCT. Ministério de Ciência e Tecnologia. Retrieved on January 20, 2018 , from

Mintzberg, H. (1980). Structure in 5's: A synthesis of the research on organization design. Management Science, 26, 322-341.

______________. (1995). Criando organizações eficazes: estruturas em cinco configurações. Atlas, São Paulo.

Natura (2018). Retrieved on January 20, 2018.

OECD. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (1996). Oslo manual: a guide for the data collection on technological innovation. (2.ed.) Paris.

O`Reilly III, C. A., & Tushman, M. L. (2004). Ambidextrous organizations. Harvard Business Review, 82, 74-81.

O´Reilly III, C., & Tushman, M. (2008). Ambidexterity as a dynamic capability: Resolving the innovator’s dilemma. Research in Organizational Behavior, 28, 185–206. Retrieved from

Petrobrás (2018), Retrieved on January 20, 2018.

Popadiuk, S. (2012). Scale for classifying organizations as explorers, exploiters, or ambidextrous. International Journal of Information Management, 32(1), 75-87.

Popadiuk, S., Franklin, M. A., Vidal, P. G., Miguel, L. A. P., & Prieto, V. C. (2012). Exploitation e Exploration do conhecimento organizacional: Uma Análise em Empresas Brasileiras. Revista Espacios, 33(7), p.8.

Pugh, D. S., Hickson, D. J., Hinings, C. R., & Turner, C. (1968). Dimensions of the organization. Administrative Science Quarterly, 13, 65-105.

Ranson, S., Hinings, B., & Greenwood, R. (1980). The structuring of organizational structures. Administrative Science Quarterly, 25, 1-17.

Rothaermel, F. T., & Alexandre, M. T. (2009). Ambidexterity in Technology Sourcing: The Moderating Role of Absorptive Capacity. Organization Science, 20(4), 759–780.

Sapprasert, K., & Clausen, T. H. (2012). Organizational innovation and its effects. Industrial and Corporate Change, 21(5), 1283–1305.

Sheremata, W. A. (2000). Centrifugal and centripetal forces in radical new product development under time pressure. The Academy of Management Review, 25(2), 389-408.

Sekaran, U. (2000). Research methods for business: a skill-building approach. (3ª.ed.) John Wiley & Sons, Inc. New York.

Simeray, J. P. (1977). A estrutura da empresa. LTC, Rio de Janeiro.

Stebbins, R. A. (2001). Exploratory research in the social sciences. Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, California.

Stoner, J. A. F. (1985). Administração. (2ª ed.) Prentice-Hall do Brasil, Rio de Janeiro.

Tushman, M. L., & O`Reilly III, C. A. (1996). Ambidextrous organizations: managing evolutionary and revolutionary change. California Management Review, 38, 8- 23.

Vasconcelos, E., & Hemsley, J. R. (2000). Estruturas oganizacionais: estruturas tradicionais, estruturas para inovação e estrutura matricial. (3a ed.) Pioneira, São Paulo.

Wang, F., & Jiang, H. (2009). Innovation paradox and ambidextrous organization: A case study on development teams of air conditioner in Haier. Frontiers of Business Research in China, 3(2), 271–300.

Xie, K., Wu, Y., Xiao, J., & Hu, Q. (2016). Value co-creation between firms and customers: The role of big data-based cooperative assets. Information & Management.

Zack, M. H. (2002). Developing a knowledge strategy, in: W. C. Choo, & N. Bontis (Eds), The strategic management of intellectual capital and organizational knowledge (pp. 255-276). New York Oxford.

Zimmermann, A., & Birkinshaw, J. (2016). Reconciling Capabilities and Ambidexterity Theories: A Multi-level Perspective. Oxford Handbooks Online, (1), 1–24.

Yin, R. K. (2012). Applications of case study research. (3ª.ed.) SAGE publications.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2022 Revista Ibero-Americana de Estratégia

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Revista Iberoamericana de Gestão Estratégica (IJSM)
Revista Ibero-Americana de Estratégia (RIAE)
e-ISSN: 2176-0756

Revista Iberoamericana de Gestão Estratégica (IJSM) © 2022 Todos os direitos reservados.

Esta obra está licenciada com Licença
Creative Commons Atribuição-NãoComercial-CompartilhaIgual 4.0 Internacional