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2010/2011  KAN-CM_T75  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 Full Degree Master
Duration One Semester
Course Period Autumn . Spring
Pending schedule: Mon, 14.25-16.06, week:35-44 This course will also be offered in Spring 2012
Time Table Please see course schedule at e-Campus
Study Board
Study Board for MSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course Coordinator
Jan Mouritsen - jm.om@cbs.dkSecretary Mette Kierkegaard - mki.om@cbs.dk
Main Category of the Course
  • Corporate and Business Strategy
  • Innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Organization
  • Management of Information and Knowledge Management
Last updated on 29 maj 2012
Learning Objectives
In order to achieve the grade 12 at the exam, the students must 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.
Four hours written exam – Open book
Exam Period Winter Term
Prerequisites for Attending the Exam
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.

After the course the students will be able to understand relevant learning and organization theories (exploration and exploitation, partition, switching, tight coupling, etc.); relate these theories to organizational ambidexterity; and identify the actions (structural, contextual and leadership-based) that can be taken in order to achieve organizational ambidexterity.

The course’s development of personal competences:
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 case findings in groups.


- O'Reilly III, C. A., & Tushman, M. L. (2004). The ambidextrous organization. Harvard Toni, A. D., & Tonchia, S. (1998).

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

- Raisch, S. & Birkinshaw, J. (2008), Organizational Ambidexterity: Antecedents, Outcomes, and Moderators, Journal of Management 2008; 34; 375.

- Manufacturing flexibility: A literature review. International Journal of Production Research, 36(6), 1587-1617.

- 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

- Toni, A. D., & Tonchia, S. (1998). Manufacturing flexibility: A literature review. International Journal of Production Research, 36(6), 1587-1617.

- 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.

- Lewis, M. A. (2000). Lean production and sustainable competitive advantage. International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 20(8), 959.

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- Dyck, B., Starke, F. A., Mischke, G. A., & Mauws, M. (2005). Learning to build a car: An empirical investigation of organizational learning. Journal of Management Studies, 42(2), 387-416.

- 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.

- Mom, T. J. M., Van, D. B., & Volberda, H. W. (2007). Investigating managers' exploration and exploitation activities: The influence of top-down, bottom-up, and horizontal knowledge inflows. Journal of Management Studies, 44(6), 910-931.

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

- Ghoshal, S., & Bartlett, C. A. (1994). Linking organizational context and managerial action: The dimensions of quality of management. Strategic Management Journal, 15, 91-112.

- 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.

- Osterloh, M., Frey, B. (2000), Motivation, Knowledge Transfer, and Organizational Forms, Organization Science, Vol. 11, No. 5, September-October 2000, pp. 538-550

- 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