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2010/2011  BA-HA_E134  Efficiency and Innovation: A possible combination

English Title
Efficiency and Innovation: A possible combination

Course Information

Language English
Point 7,5 ECTS (225 SAT)
Type Elective
Level Bachelor
Duration One Semester
Course Period Autumn . Spring
Pending schedule: Thurs:11.40-14.15, week:36-45 This course will also be offered in Spring 2012
Time Table Please see course schedule at e-Campus
Study Board
Study Board for BSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course Coordinator
Secretary Helle Frisenborg Marker - hfm.om@cbs.dk
Main Category of the Course
  • Corporate and Business Strategy
  • Innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Organization
  • Management of Information and Knowledge Management

Taught under Open University-Taught under open university.
Last updated on 29 maj 2012
Learning Objectives
The students will practice the reading of articles from high ranking journals.
The students will improve the ability to extract relevant information and insights from an article.
The students will also present and discuss findings and comments in groups.

After the course the students will be able to:
  • understand and apply the relevant organizational and learning theories
  • understand and explain the concept of organizational ambidexterity
  • Identify the relevant actions that can be recommended for a case company in order to achieve organizational ambidexterity
Organization theory at the undergraduate level
4 hour open book exam
Exam Period Winter Term and Summer Term

The exam is a 4 hour written, open book exam. The exam is PC-based with no internet access. It is also possible to write in hand.
Course Content

The economic scenario in the world during the last years seems to place upon companies a higher standard of performance capabilities. In face of increasing competition and globalization, a growing number of companies have realized the strategic importance of being, on one hand, efficient and lean and, on the other hand, flexible and innovative.

However, from an organizational point of view, all types of flexibility and innovation present a common challenge for the organizations: efficiency requires standardization, formalization, specialization and elimination of waste; but these requirements can impede the process of adjustment required for flexibility and innovation; and organizations normally confront a trade-off.

The major goal of this course is to present what organizations can do in order to be both efficient and innovative and, as a consequence, raise the trade-off between leanness and innovation. This will be done by drawing on organization/learning theories and the concept of organizational ambidexterity which is defined as the company’s ability for alignment (efficiency) and adaptability (Innovation). In the course, cases of companies that have succeeded in solving the dilemma and aligning strategy with the right management of efficiency and innovation will be presented.


- Adler et al (2009), Perspectives on the productivity dilemma, Journal of Operations Management, 27 (2009) 99-113.

- Levin, D.Z. (2000), Organizational Knowledge and the Transfer of Knowledge: An Investigation of Quality Improvement, Organization Science, 2000, Vol. 11, No. 6, pp. 630-647

- Cannon, A.R. & John, S.H. (2004), Competitive Strategy and Plant-level Flexibility, International Journal of Production Research, 2004, Vol. 42, No. 10, 1987-2007.

- Silveira, G.S. & Slack N. (2001), Exploring the Trade-off Concept, International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 21, No. 7, 2001, pp. 949-964.

- Adler, P. S., Goldoftas, B., & Levine, D. I. (1999). Flexibility versus efficiency? A case study model changeovers in the toyota production system. Organization Science, 10(1), 43-68.

- Gibson, C. B., & Birkinshaw, J. (2004). The antecedents, consequences, and mediating role of organizational ambidexterity.Academy of Management Journal, 47(2), 209-226.

- Nonaka, I., R. Toyama, N. Konno. 2000. SECI, Ba and leadership: A unified model of dynamic knowledge creation. Long Range Planning 33(1) 5–34.

- Tushman & Smith (2005), Managing Strategic Contradictions: A Top Management Model for Managing Innovation Streams, Organization Science, Vol. 16, No. 5, September–October 2005, pp. 522–536

- Tripsas & Gavetti (2000): Capabilities, Cognition and Inertia: Evidence from Digital Imaging, Strategic Management Journal, 21: 1147–1161