World Scientific
  • Search
Skip main navigation

Cookies Notification

We use cookies on this site to enhance your user experience. By continuing to browse the site, you consent to the use of our cookies. Learn More
Our website is made possible by displaying certain online content using javascript.
In order to view the full content, please disable your ad blocker or whitelist our website

System Upgrade on Tue, Oct 25th, 2022 at 2am (EDT)

Existing users will be able to log into the site and access content. However, E-commerce and registration of new users may not be available for up to 12 hours.
For online purchase, please visit us again. Contact us at [email protected] for any enquiries.


    This paper reports an in-depth qualitative study about innovation work in the Swedish video game industry. More specifically, it focuses on how video game developers are building ambidextrous capabilities to simultaneously addressing explorative and exploitative activities. The Swedish video game industry is a particularly suitable case to analyze ambidexterity, due to it’s extreme market success and continuous ability to adapt to shifts in technologies and demands. Based on the empirical data, three ambidextrous capabilities are pointed out as particularly valuable for video game developers; (1) the ability to separate between a creative work climate and the effectiveness in project organizing; (2) the balancing of inward and outward ideation influences, and (3) the diversity in operational means and knowledge paired with shared goals and motivations, derived from the love of video games and video game development.


    • Aoyama, Y and H Izushi [2003] Hardware gimmick or cultural innovation? Technological, cultural, and social foundations of the Japanese video game industry. Research Policy 32 (3), 423–444. Crossref, ISIGoogle Scholar
    • Birkinshaw, J and K Gupta [2013] Clarifying the distinctive contribution of ambidexterity to the field of organization studies. The Academy of Management Perspectives 27 (4), 287–298. Crossref, ISIGoogle Scholar
    • Bjelland, O and RC Wood [2008] An inside view of IBM’s ‘innovation Jam’. MIT Sloan Management Review 50 (1), 32–40. ISIGoogle Scholar
    • Björk, J, P Boccardelli and M Magnusson [2010] Ideation capabilities for continuous innovation. Creativity and Innovation Management 19 (4), 385–396. Crossref, ISIGoogle Scholar
    • Björk, S and J Holopainen [2004] Patterns in Game Design. Hingham, MA: Charles River Media. Google Scholar
    • Byrne, DE [1971] The Attraction Paradigm. New York: Academic Press. Google Scholar
    • Cao, Q, E Gedajlovic and H Zhang [2009] Unpacking organizational ambidexterity: Dimensions, contingencies, and synergistic effects. Organization Science 20 (4), 781–796. Crossref, ISIGoogle Scholar
    • Chandy, RK and GJ Tellis [2000] The incumbent’s curse? Incumbency, size, and radical product innovation. The Journal of Marketing 64 (3), 1–17. Crossref, ISIGoogle Scholar
    • Christensen, C [1997] The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail. Boston: Harvard Business School Press. Google Scholar
    • Christensen, C and R Rosenbloom [1995] Explaining the attacker’s advantage: Technological paradigms, organizational dynamics, and the value network. Research Policy 24 (2), 233–257. Crossref, ISIGoogle Scholar
    • Cohen, W and D Levinthal [1990] Absorptive capacity: A new perspective on learning and innovation. Administrative Science Quarterly 35 (1), 128–152. Crossref, ISIGoogle Scholar
    • Cooper, RG [2008] Perspective: The Stage-Gate idea-to-launch process — uptade, what’s new, and NexGen systems. Journal of Product Innovation Management 25 (3), 213–232. Crossref, ISIGoogle Scholar
    • Corbin, J and A Strauss [2014] Basics of Qualitative Research: Techniques and Procedures for Developing Grounded Theory. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage publications. Google Scholar
    • Davis, JP, KM Eisenhardt and CB Bingham [2009] Optimal structure, market dynamism, and the strategy of simple rules. Administrative Science Quarterly 54 (3), 413–452. Crossref, ISIGoogle Scholar
    • DiMaggio, PJ and WW Powell [1991] The New Institutionalism in Organizational Analysis. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Google Scholar
    • Dosi, G [1982] Technological paradigms and technological trajectories: A suggested interpretation of the determinants and directions of technical change. Research Policy 11 (3), 147–162. Crossref, ISIGoogle Scholar
    • Dubois, A and M Gibbert [2010] From complexity to transparency: Managing the interplay between theory, method and empirical phenomena in IMM case studies. Industrial Marketing Management 39 (1), 129–136. Crossref, ISIGoogle Scholar
    • Dunbar, C, D Rodriguez and L Parker [2003] Race, subjectivity, and the interview process, Inside Interviewing–New Lenses, New Concerns, eds. Holstein, JAJF Gubrium, London/Thousand Oaks/New Delhi: Sage, pp. 131–150. Google Scholar
    • Duncan, RB [1976] The ambidextrous organization: Designing dual structures for innovation, The Management of Organization, eds. Kilmann, RLR PondyD Slevin, New York: North-Holland, pp. 167–188. Google Scholar
    • Eisenhardt, K [1989] Building theory from case study research. Academy of Management Review 14 (4), 532–550. Crossref, ISIGoogle Scholar
    • Eisenhardt, K and M Graebner [2007] Theory building from cases: Opportunities and challenges. Academy of Management Journal 50 (1), 25–32. Crossref, ISIGoogle Scholar
    • Eisenhardt, KM, NR Furr and CB Bingham [2010] CROSSROADS — Microfoundations of performance: Balancing efficiency and flexibility in dynamic environments. Organization Science 21 (6), 1263–1273. Crossref, ISIGoogle Scholar
    • Eisenhardt, KM and CB Schoonhoven [1990] Organizational growth: Linking founding team, strategy, environment, and growth among US semiconductor ventures, 1978–1988. Administrative Science Quarterly 35 (3), 504–529. Crossref, ISIGoogle Scholar
    • Farrell, J and G Saloner [1986] Installed base and compatibility: Innovation, product preannouncements, and predation. The American Economic Review 76 (5), 940–955. ISIGoogle Scholar
    • Flyvbjerg, B [2006] Five misunderstandings about case-study research. Qualitative Inquiry 12 (2), 219–245. Crossref, ISIGoogle Scholar
    • Gibbert, M, W Ruigrok and B Wicki [2008] What passes as a rigorous case study?. Strategic Management Journal 29 (13), 1465–1474. Crossref, ISIGoogle Scholar
    • Gibson, CB and J Birkinshaw [2004] The antecedents, consequences, and mediating role of organizational ambidexterity. The Academy of Management Journal 47 (2), 209–226. Crossref, ISIGoogle Scholar
    • Gupta, AK, KG Smith and CE Shalley [2006] The interplay between exploration and exploitation. Academy of Management Journal 49 (4), 693–706. Crossref, ISIGoogle Scholar
    • Jansen, JJ, G George, FA Van den Bosch and HW Volberda [2008] Senior team attributes and organizational ambidexterity: The moderating role of transformational leadership. Journal of Management Studies 45 (5), 982–1007. Crossref, ISIGoogle Scholar
    • Jelinek, M and CB Schoonhoven [1990] The Innovation Marathon: Lessons from High Technology Firms. San Fransisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers. Google Scholar
    • Junni, P, RM Sarala, V Taras and SY Tarba [2013] Organizational ambidexterity and performance: A meta-analysis. The Academy of Management Perspectives 27 (4), 299–312. Crossref, ISIGoogle Scholar
    • Katz, R and TJ Allen [1982] Investigating the not invented here (NIH) syndrome: A look at the performance, tenure, and communication patterns. R&D Management 12 (1), 7–19. Crossref, ISIGoogle Scholar
    • Kotter, JP [1996] Leading Change. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press. Google Scholar
    • Kvale, S and S Brinkmann [2006] InterViews — Learning the Craft of Qualitative Research Interviewing. Thousand Oaks: Sage. Google Scholar
    • Laureiro-Martínez, D, S Brusoni, N Canessa and M Zollo [2015] Understanding the exploration–exploitation dilemma: An fMRI study of attention control and decision-making performance. Strategic Management Journal 36 (3), 319–338. Crossref, ISIGoogle Scholar
    • Leavitt, HJ [1965] Applied organizational change in industry: Structural, technological and humanistic approaches, Handbook of Organizations, eds. March, JG, Chicago: Rand McNally, pp. 115–123. Google Scholar
    • Levinthal, DA and JG March [1993] The myopia of learning. Strategic Management Journal 14, 95–112. Crossref, ISIGoogle Scholar
    • March, JG [1991] Exploration and exploitation in organizational learning. Organization Science 2 (1), 71–97. Crossref, ISIGoogle Scholar
    • March, JG and HA Simon [1958] Organizations. New York: Wiley. Google Scholar
    • Markides, CC [2013] Business model innovation: What can the ambidexterity literature teach us?. The Academy of Management Perspectives 27 (4), 313–323. Crossref, ISIGoogle Scholar
    • Mayer-Schönberger, V and K Cukier [2013] Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think. Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Google Scholar
    • Meyer, JW and B Rowan [1977] Institutionalized organizations: Formal structure as myth and ceremony. The American Journal of Sociology 83 (2), 340–363. Crossref, ISIGoogle Scholar
    • Miles, MB and AM Huberman [1984] Qualitative Data Analysis: A Sourcebook of New Methods. Beverly Hills, California: Sage. Google Scholar
    • Nosella, A, S Cantarello and R Filippini [2012] The intellectual structure of organizational ambidexterity: A bibliographic investigation into the state of the art. Strategic Organization 10 (4), 450–465. Crossref, ISIGoogle Scholar
    • O’Reilly, C and M Tushman [2013] Organizational ambidexterity: Past, present and future. The Academy of Management Perspectives 27 (4), 324–338. Crossref, ISIGoogle Scholar
    • O’Reilly, CA and ML Tushman [2011] Organizational ambidexterity in action: How managers explore and exploit. California Management Review 53, 5–22. Crossref, ISIGoogle Scholar
    • O’Reilly, CA and ML Tushman [2008] Ambidexterity as a dynamic capability: Resolving the innovator’s dilemma. Research in Organizational Behavior 28, 185–206. Crossref, ISIGoogle Scholar
    • Pache, A-C and F Santos [2013] Inside the hybrid organization: Selective coupling as a response to conflicting institutional logics. Academy of Management Journal 56 (4), 972–1001. Crossref, ISIGoogle Scholar
    • Page, S [2007] The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press. Google Scholar
    • Poland, BD [2001] Transcription quality, Handbook of Interview Research: Context and Method, eds. Gubrium, JFJA Holstein, London: Sage, pp. 629–651. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
    • Ragin, CC and HS Becker [1992] What is a Case? Exploring the Foundations of Social Inquiry. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Google Scholar
    • Raisch, S and J Birkinshaw [2008] Organizational ambidexterity: Antecedents, outcomes, and moderators. Journal of Management 34 (3), 375–409. Crossref, ISIGoogle Scholar
    • Raisch, S, J Birkinshaw, G Probst and ML Tushman [2009] Organizational ambidexterity: Balancing exploitation and exploration for sustained performance. Organization Science 20 (4), 685–695. Crossref, ISIGoogle Scholar
    • Raymond, ES [1999] The Cathedral and the Bazaar: Musings on Linux and Open Source by an Accidental Revolutionary. Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly and Associates. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
    • Ries, E [2011] The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses. New York: Random House LLC. Google Scholar
    • Schumpeter, JA [1934] The Theory of Economic Development: An Inquiry Into Profits, Capital, Credit, Interest, and the Business Cycle. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Google Scholar
    • Sherif, M, OJ Harvey, BJ White, WR Hood and CW Sherif [1961] Intergroup Conflict and Cooperation: The Robbers Cave Experiment. Norman, OK: University Book Exchange. Google Scholar
    • Sidhu, JS, HW Volberda and HR Commandeur [2004] Exploring exploration orientation and its determinants: Some empirical evidence. Journal of Management Studies 41 (6), 913–932. Crossref, ISIGoogle Scholar
    • Siggelkow, N [2007] Persuasion with case studies. Academy of Management Journal 50 (1), 20–24. Crossref, ISIGoogle Scholar
    • Simsek, Z [2009] Organizational ambidexterity: Towards a multilevel understanding. Journal of Management Studies 46, 597–624. Crossref, ISIGoogle Scholar
    • Stark, D [2011] The Sense of Dissonance: Accounts of Worth in Economic Life. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. Google Scholar
    • Storz, C, F Riboldazzi and M John [2015] Mobility and innovation: A cross-country comparison in the video games industry. Research Policy 44 (1), 121–137. Crossref, ISIGoogle Scholar
    • Styhre, A [2002] Non-linear change in organizations: Organization change management informed by complexity theory. Leadership & Organization Development Journal 23 (6), 343–351. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
    • Teece, DJ [2007] Explicating dynamic capabilities: The nature and microfoundations of (sustainable) enterprise performance. Strategic Management Journal 28 (13), 1319–1350. Crossref, ISIGoogle Scholar
    • Teece, DJ, G Pisano and A Shuen [1997] Dynamic capabilities and strategic management. Strategic Management Journal 18 (7), 509–533. Crossref, ISIGoogle Scholar
    • The Swedish Games Industry (2014). Spelutvecklarindex 2014. Sweden. Google Scholar
    • Thompson, J [1967] Organizations In Action. New York: McGraw-Hill. Google Scholar
    • Turner, N, J Swart and H Maylor [2013] Mechanisms for managing ambidexterity: A review and research Agenda. International Journal of Management Reviews 15, 317–332. Crossref, ISIGoogle Scholar
    • Tushman, ML and CA O’Reilly [1996] Ambidextrous organizations: Managing evolutionary and revolutionary change. California Management Review 38 (4), 8–30. Crossref, ISIGoogle Scholar
    • Uotila, J, M Maula, T Keil and SA Zahra [2009] Exploration, exploitation, and financial performance: Analysis of S&P 500 corporations. Strategic Management Journal 30 (2), 221–231. Crossref, ISIGoogle Scholar
    • Utterback, JM and WJ Abernathy [1975] A dynamic model of process and product innovation. Omega 3 (6), 639–656. Crossref, ISIGoogle Scholar
    • Venkatraman, N, C-H Lee and B Iyer (2007). Strategic ambidexterity and sales growth: A longitudinal test in the software sector. In Unpublished Manuscript (earlier version presented at the Academy of Management Meetings, 2005). Google Scholar
    • Verganti, R [2008] Design, meanings, and radical innovation: A metamodel and a research agenda. Journal of Product Innovation Management 25 (5), 436–456. Crossref, ISIGoogle Scholar
    • Wang, CL and M Rafiq [2014] Ambidextrous organizational culture, contextual ambidexterity and new product innovation: A comparative study of UK and Chinese high-tech firms. British Journal of Management 25 (1), 58–76. Crossref, ISIGoogle Scholar
    • Wang, H and J Li [2008] Untangling the effects of overexploration and overexploitation on organizational performance: The moderating role of environmental dynamism. Journal of Management 34(5), 925–951. Crossref, ISIGoogle Scholar
    • Yin, R [1994] Case Study Research: Design and Methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Google Scholar
    • Zackariasson, P, A Styhre and TL Wilson [2006a] Phronesis and creativity: Knowledge work in video game development. Creativity and Innovation Management 15 (4), 419–429. Google Scholar
    • Zackariasson, P, M Walfisz and TL Wilson [2006b] Management of creativity in video game development. Services Marketing Quarterly 27 (4), 73–97. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
    • Zackariasson, P and TL Wilson [2012] The Video Game Industry: Formation, Present State, and Future. New York: Routledge. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
    • Zajac, EJ, MS Kraatz and RKF Bresser [2000] Modeling the dynamics of strategic fit: A normative approach to strategic change. Strategic Management Journal 21 (4), 429–453. Crossref, ISIGoogle Scholar
    • Zimmermann, A, S Raisch and J Birkinshaw [2015] How is ambidexterity initiated? The emergent charter definition process. Organization Science 26 (2), 1–21. Google Scholar
    Remember to check out the Most Cited Articles!

    Be inspired by these New Titles in Business and Management