Middle Managers in realising Dynamic Capabilities and Organisational Ambidexterity in complex environments

Baku Morikuni

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis


This research aims to explore the role of Middle Managers in realising Dynamic Capabilities (DC) through Organisational Ambidexterity (OA) in the strategy process. While previous studies have extensively investigated organisational capabilities and top management perspectives, this study aims to increase the understanding of how Middle Managers in a complex multinational corporation and hypercompetitive environment manage exploration and exploitation in the strategy process. In a Strategy-as-Practice approach, the ambidexterity practices and capabilities required are investigated in depth through qualitative examinations.
In a systematic literature review on Middle Managers and OA, a conceptual framework with key managerial capability components is developed to guide the research. Extant literature shows an increasing interest; however, a significant knowledge gap remains, especially from a Middle Manager perspective. To examine the gap, this research uses an in-depth single case study covering a multinational corporation with a complex matrix structure. The empirical investigation comprised thirty face-to-face interviews from 2017-2020 with Middle Managers across the organisation in Europe.
This research makes four significant contributions to DC and OA theory. First, the study offers a new framework for the Ambidextrous Capabilities of Middle Managers by extending a conceptual framework developed from the literature review and examining the micro-foundations of OA through the case research. Second, Transitive Capabilities are introduced as higher-level capabilities to orchestrate and realise continual paradigm and logic shifts to achieve an exploration-exploitation duality, especially in complex multi-dimensional organisations. Third, a perspective on the hierarchy of DCs and a link between the DC and OA concepts is developed to offer integration from a Middle Manager perspective. Fourth, this study advances the current literature about the strategic role of Middle Managers and their Dynamic Managerial Capabilities throughout the strategy process. Finally, the research concludes by discussing theoretical and practical contributions, limitations, and directions for future research.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Dyerson, Romano, Supervisor
  • Wang, Catherine L., Supervisor
Award date1 Feb 2023
Publication statusUnpublished - 2023


  • Dynamic Capabilities
  • Organisational Ambidexterity
  • Dynamic Managerial Capabilities
  • Transitive Capabilities
  • Middle Manager
  • Hypercompetition
  • Matrix Organisation

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