Ambidexterity is the ability of being able to dedicate oneself to two opposing poles at the same time. The term is derived from the Latin (ambo = both and dexter = right: ‘both-sided right’) and denotes the ability of being equally skilled in both hands (Leonardo de Vinci was known for his ambidexterity).
In 1976, the sociologist Robert B Duncan introduced “Organisational Ambidexterity” regarding the aspiration of organisations to dedicate themselves, at the same time, to two different strategic directions: exploitation (using existing resources and products for the creation of efficiency and productivity) and exploration (innovative strength, change, adaptation to new market conditions). This ability is an advantage, particularly during increasing complexity and competitive intensity. This means that organisations must simultaneously consider and follow the two-sided perspective.
How managers, who are confronted with the necessity of simultaneously exploring new paths and using existing paths, acquire this ability, is a field which is still to be researched. From a psychological viewpoint, the independence from the desire to control everything is just as important as not identifying with one’s own opinions of being particularly important (Authors: Tina Geiger and Klaus Eidenschink).