Janus Rising: Information Technology Role in Facilitation of Organizational Ambidexterity and Identity Open Access

Kathuria, Abhishek (2012)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/4b29b6164?locale=en
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Abstract

Information Technology (IT) permits new organizational possibilities - tolerating and
thriving in complex organizational settings that result from the election of conflicting strategic
objectives. As a critical resource in today's knowledge-driven, hypercompetitive environment, IT
accrues several indirect benefits through intermediate value-creating organizational processes.
Tolerating strategic tensions generated by competing demands on organizational attention and
resources is one such process. The quest to attain competitive advantage through the concurrent
pursuit of seemingly conflicting strategies or identities is a major source of these tensions. This
dissertation examines the role of information systems in facilitating organizational ambidexterity and
managing multiple organizational identities. In the first component, I selected to gather data from
352 manufacturing firms in high growth sectors in India - a novel empirical setting which provides an
exemplar for the world's enterprises undergoing rapid structural changes in the 21st century. I find
strong support for my assertion that an organization's IT resources and capabilities facilitate
organizational ambidexterity, hitherto a challenging competitive possibility. In the second
component, I examine the role of IT in enhancing post-acquisition integration of externally acquired
explorative or exploitative innovation. I extend March's Exploration-Exploitation model in the
context of acquisitions by introducing IT-enabled learning mechanisms. I offer theoretical
propositions and find that post-acquisition integration strategies and IT-enabled learning
mechanisms have different, but complementary impacts. In the third component of this dissertation
research, I assert a causal model of IT capability in the management of multiple identities. I then
develop a computer simulation model and find that an organization's IT capability leads to highest
performance increases under conditions of low identity plurality, low identity synergy and low IT
capability. Overall, I show that IT enables the management of seemingly paradoxical challenges that
arise in the tolerance of the complexity inherent in effectively resolving strategic tensions. The
results from this dissertation contribute towards a theory of IT-enabled management of strategic
tensions and inform our understanding of the complex relationships and theoretical pathways from
IT to competitive advantage. I validate the viability of IT-enabled organizational ambidexterity and
IT-enabled management of multiple identities as competitive possibilities emergent in the 21st
century.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

1 Introduction ..................................................................................................................... 1

1.1 Information Technology and Organizational Ambidexterity ........................... 7

1.2 Information Technology and Technology Acquisitions ................................. 11

1.3 Information Technology and Organizational Identities .................................. 14

1.4 Conclusion ............................................................................................................. 15

2 Firm-level Business Value of Information Technology........................................... 21

2.1 Introduction ........................................................................................................... 21

2.2 IT and Firm Productivity ..................................................................................... 21

2.3 IT and Firm Performance .................................................................................... 23

2.4 IT and Market Value of Firms ............................................................................ 25

2.5 IT and Competitive Advantage ........................................................................... 26

2.6 Conclusion ............................................................................................................. 28

3 Organizational Ambidexterity ..................................................................................... 30

3.1 Introduction ........................................................................................................... 30

3.2 Ambidexterity in the Broadest Sense ................................................................. 31

3.3 Ambidexterity and the Exploration-Exploitation Paradox ............................. 32

3.4 Exploration ............................................................................................................ 34

3.5 Exploitation ........................................................................................................... 35

3.6 Conflicting Demands ............................................................................................ 36

3.7 Advantages of Simultaneous Exploration- Exploitation ................................. 36

3.8 Conceptualizations of Ambidexterity ................................................................. 40

3.9 How Firms Achieve Ambidexterity ................................................................... 42

3.10 Conclusion ......................................................................................................... 46

4 Impacts of IT on Organizational Ambidexterity ...................................................... 48

4.1 Introduction ........................................................................................................... 48

4.2 Influence of IT Resources ................................................................................... 49

4.2.1 Influence of Software IT Resources ............................................................ 50

4.2.2 Influence of IT Technical Resources ........................................................... 52

4.2.3 Influence of IT Hardware Resources ........................................................... 55

4.3 Influence of IT Automate, Informate and Transform Capabilities ............... 57

4.3.1 Influence of IT Informate Capability ........................................................... 60

4.3.2 Influence of IT Automate Capability ........................................................... 61

4.3.3 Influence of IT Transform Capability ......................................................... 62

4.3.4 Joint Influence ................................................................................................. 63

4.4 Conclusion ............................................................................................................. 64

5 Methods and Results for IT Impact on Ambidexterity ........................................... 66

5.1 Introduction ........................................................................................................... 66

5.2 Setting ..................................................................................................................... 67

5.3 Questionnaire Development ............................................................................... 70

5.4 Data Collection ...................................................................................................... 72

5.5 Alleviating Bias Concerns .................................................................................... 78

5.6 Measures ................................................................................................................. 80

5.6.1 Measure of IT Resources ............................................................................... 80

5.6.2 Measures of Automate, Informate and Transform Capabilities .............. 81

5.6.3 Measure of Ambidexterity ............................................................................. 82

5.6.4 Control Variables ............................................................................................ 87

5.6.5 Measure Construction .................................................................................... 88

5.7 Research Design .................................................................................................... 91

5.8 Results ..................................................................................................................... 94

5.8.1 Post-hoc Analysis ............................................................................................ 99

5.8.2 Robustness Checks ...................................................................................... 104

5.9 Discussion ........................................................................................................... 107

5.10 Conclusion ...................................................................................................... 112

6 Technology Acquisitions ........................................................................................... 113

6.1 Introduction ........................................................................................................ 113

6.2 Definition ............................................................................................................ 114

6.3 External Ambidexterity and Acquisitions ....................................................... 115

6.4 Knowledge in Technology Acquisitions ......................................................... 116

6.5 Risks in Technology Acquisitions .................................................................... 119

6.6 Success of Technology Acquisitions ............................................................... 121

6.7 Conclusion .......................................................................................................... 122

7 Computational Model of IT and Technology Acquisitions ................................. 125

7.1 Introduction ........................................................................................................ 125

7.2 Computational Simulation ................................................................................ 127

7.2.1 Definition ...................................................................................................... 127

7.2.2 Advantages .................................................................................................... 128

7.2.3 Disadvantages ............................................................................................... 128

7.2.4 Usage .............................................................................................................. 129

7.3 March's Original Model .................................................................................... 130

7.4 The Exploration Exploitation Acquisition Model ........................................ 132

7.5 Extensions to the EEA Model ......................................................................... 134

7.5.1 Reinterpretation ............................................................................................ 134

7.5.2 Extension of Scope ...................................................................................... 135

7.5.3 IT-enabled Learning Mechanisms ............................................................. 136

7.6 Computational Experiments ............................................................................ 145

7.6.1 Validation of Original Findings ................................................................. 146

7.6.2 Experimental Design ................................................................................... 147

7.6.3 Experimental Setup ..................................................................................... 151

7.6.4 The Impact of Integration Strategies ........................................................ 152

7.6.5 The Impact of a Knowledge Repository .................................................. 156

7.6.6 The Impact of Communication Technologies ........................................ 160

7.6.7 The Joint Impact of IT-enabled Learning Mechanisms ......................... 165

7.6.8 The Impact of Turnover and Turbulence ................................................ 171

7.6.9 Other Validation Concerns......................................................................... 172

7.7 Discussion ........................................................................................................... 173

7.8 Conclusion .......................................................................................................... 183

8 Organizational Identity .............................................................................................. 185

8.1 Introduction ........................................................................................................ 185

8.2 Two Perspectives of Organizational Identity ................................................. 186

8.3 Definition and Construction of Organizational Identity ............................. 187

8.4 Multiple Organizational Identities ................................................................... 189

8.5 Conclusion .......................................................................................................... 191

9 IT Capability and Multiple Organizational Identity .............................................. 194

9.1 Introduction ........................................................................................................ 194

9.2 Communication of Organizational Images .................................................... 194

9.3 Consistency of Organizational Behavior and Communication ................... 196

9.4 Flexibility of Organizational Resources and Routines .................................. 197

9.5 Conclusion .......................................................................................................... 198

10 Computational Model of IT and Organizational Identities ............................. 200

10.1 Introduction .................................................................................................... 200

10.2 The ITCOID Model ...................................................................................... 201

10.3 Computational Experiment .......................................................................... 205

10.4 Results .............................................................................................................. 207

10.5 Discussion ....................................................................................................... 211

10.6 Conclusion ...................................................................................................... 215

11 Conclusion ............................................................................................................... 216

11.1 Summary of Results ....................................................................................... 216

11.2 Contributions .................................................................................................. 220

11.3 Limitations ...................................................................................................... 225

11.4 Managerial Implications ................................................................................ 229

11.5 Conclusion ...................................................................................................... 230

Appendix 1: Detailed Tables ......................................................................................................... 232

Appendix 2: Measures .................................................................................................................... 256

Appendix 3: Excerpts of Representative Pilot Study Interviews ............................................. 263

Appendix 4: Features of the Extended EEA Model .................................................................. 271

Appendix 5: Main Program Code for the ITCOID Model ...................................................... 280

References ........................................................................................................................................ 284

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