Ambidextrous Environmental Managers: Trading off the Natural Environment?

Fredrik Dahlman, Johanne Ward-Grosvold

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter in a published conference proceeding

1 Citation (SciVal)


Understanding how individuals shape the development of organizational ambidexterity is critical for better theorization and normative advice. But while most extant research uses exploration and exploitation as the defining firm-level practices, there remains a dearth of knowledge on how individuals respond to fundamental tensions challenging organizational existence. Particularly in the context of managing environmental concerns at the height of the financial crisis, firms are faced with a variety of both instrumentally and morally driven tensions. In this paper, we investigate what role firms’ environmental managers play in this process. Drawing on semi-structured interviews with environmental managers from 55 UK based firms, we find that these individuals turn out to be critical change agents by employing managerial capabilities of systematizing, assimilation and diffusion of practice. These individual level processes and activities have important consequences as microfoundations for the development of organizational ambidexterity. Our research therefore suggests that how individuals respond to tensions can actively shape firms’ wider capabilities. Specifically, we argue that managers’ active engagement with complex concerns about the protection of the natural environment contributes to businesses becoming more ambidextrous, which in turn is likely to have significant effects on organizational level outcomes beyond financial performance.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAcademy of Management Proceedings
PublisherAcademy of Management
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018
Event78th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, AOM 2018 - Chicago, USA United States
Duration: 10 Aug 201814 Aug 2018


Conference78th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, AOM 2018
Country/TerritoryUSA United States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Management of Technology and Innovation
  • Industrial relations


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