16Organizational Ambidexterity: The Double Organic Ambidexterity

16.1. Summary

The field of project management has been considerably renewed over the past 20 years under the influence, in particular, of work on the emergence of the project (Williams 2005), temporalities (Boutinet 2012) and the need for the project to continuously reinvent itself (Midler 1995; Winter and Szczepanek 2008). In this renewal, the examination of extreme situations makes it possible to highlight alternating between planning and execution, between exploiting knowledge already acquired and exploring new knowledge (Aubry and Lièvre 2010). We already know that a crucial skill for an expedition leader is knowing how to recognize the need to change their mode of action.

This skill refers to the double ambidextrous nature of the project manager. We then speak of an organic ambidextrous environment that “lives” and adjusts continuously as the project progresses. Our interest is now focused on understanding organizational changes from the perspective of organic ambidexterity. How can this ambidextrous picture be found in the context of organizational change? Inspired by Van de Ven and Sun (2011), the focus here is on organization. This chapter aims to explore the dimensions of alternation in organizational change between the planned and the emerging, between what is known and what needs to be reinvented, taking the particular context of three major organizational changes.

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