Side to side - Balancing paradoxical tensions within product innovation
Sammanfattning: Modern organisations are constantly faced with a plethora of paradoxical tensions, especially during the process of product innovation. For example, the development of incremental innovations must be balanced with radical ones to ensure that an organisation remains relevant in the short and long-term. Organisations balance such tensions through the capability of ambidexterity, a concept which has attracted a proliferation of scholarly interest. However, ambidexterity research to date has primarily focused on the capability from a macro and organisational perspective. Additionally, although product innovation tensions represent an innate aspect of creative industry organisations' (CIOs) daily business, these organisations have been widely ignored by ambidexterity scholars. The purpose of this study is to understand how product innovation tensions are managed on a micro or individual level within the empirical context of the Swedish music industry. This study investigates specific managerial mechanisms, or antecedents to ambidexterity, which allow individual managers to balance the tensions between creativity and commerciality, and incremental and radical innovation. To achieve this, we adopted a qualitative paradigmatic case study design and interviewed 12 managers working in Swedish record labels and music publishers. We find six distinct managerial mechanisms used by managers to balance the tension between creativity and commerciality and two mechanisms used to balance the tension between incremental and radical innovation. Three of these mechanisms, organisational role, sequential shifting on the individual level and focus on identity have not been explored in previous ambidexterity research. The nature of the managerial mechanisms and their descriptions found in this study also provide deeper insights into literature within product innovation and its sub-streams such as real options theory.
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