Balancing the Yin and Yang of Organizational Ambidexterity at XRM Vision: Tug-of-war over Exploration-Exploitation Practices

Case number : 9 40 2022 007
Case published in the International Journal of Case Studies in Management, Vol. 20, No. 3
Date :  2022-07-26
Teaching notes included :  Yes

The case presents the real-life situation of XRM Vision, an SME IT consulting firm specializing in the design and implementation of CRM solutions. Like most SMEs, XRM Vision faces major, sometimes conflicting, management challenges such as which growth strategies to pursue while simultaneously increasing process efficiency and urging employees to identify business opportunities while fostering operational excellence. This case focuses on the challenges and difficulties SME managers face in their struggle to strike a balance between exploiting and exploring.

The case describes the exploitation-exploration tensions faced by XRM Vision’s management since the company’s founding and outlines the strategies and actions/practices it has deployed to navigate the choppy waters between exploitation and exploration.

Teaching objectives
  • Identify and analyze exploitation-exploration tensions faced by organizations.
  • Identify and analyze the decisions, strategies, actions, and/or practices used by XRM Vision to cope with conflicting demands using Lavie et al.’s (2010) modes of balancing.
  • Identify and analyze the tactics used by XRM Vision to cope with conflicting demands using Andriopoulos and Lewis’s (2009) tension management tactics, an alternative framework proposing six categories of tactics.
Primary domain :  Management  - Strategy
Secondary domain :  Information technology
Sectors :  Professional, scientific and technical services
Type :  Traditional case (Descriptive or analytical case)
Event location :  Canada
Year of start of the event :  2017
Year the event ended :  Not available
Business size :  Small- and medium-sized