Can you balance the gaps? Ambidexterity in service firms

PublikationArtikel (med peer review)
Ambidexterity, Christina Öberg, Service firms


Ambidexterity refers to the ability to balance contradictory items and has been extensively described in relation to technological advancement in large-sized manufacturing firms. Few studies on hospitality and tourism firms have described the balancing of innovative developments, often focusing on the operational level of firms. Ambidexterity could though be understood also in dimensions of customer/market development and collaborative interaction. This paper describes and discusses ambidexterity in the dimensions of technological advancement, customer/market development and collaborative interaction in service firms to inspire this debate and bridge the gap between strategy and the service field.

A case study describing a service firm’s 25-year development functions as the empirical source of inspiration to understand how service firms also in tourism and hospitality sectors would work with strategies and their developments related to technology, customers and collaboration. The case study is analysed using an activity-based time schedule to capture dimensions of ambidexterity and how they are linked to one another.

The findings indicate how the service firm balanced exploitation and exploration over time, rather than allowing such activities to occur simultaneously and in parallel. Generally, the firm only managed to explore in one dimension at the time.

The paper broadens the lens on ambidexterity to include collaboration and customer involvement and the link among the various dimensions of ambidexterity. It also discusses how ambidexterity in these dimensions may be handled by service firms so as to inspire strategic developments among tourism and hospitality firms.

Öberg, C. & Kollberg, B. (2021). Can you balance the gaps? Ambidexterity in service firms. Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Insights, 4(3), 245-262.

Liknande innehåll

Spin-in and spin-out for growth – On the acquisition and divestiture of high-tech firms
Artikel (med peer review)Publikation
Öberg, C.



Purpose: This paper describes and discusses company spin-ins and spin-outs as a means to understand company growth in a dynamic context. The following question is asked: How can growth be understood in spin-ins and spin-outs of innovative firms? The paper suggests return on capabilities as a measure to understand growth in an open innovation context.

Design/methodology/approach: The empirical part of the paper consists of a single case study. Data was captured through interviews and secondary data sources.

Findings: The paper points to that resources alone do not explain strategic decisions by a company and how spin-ins and spin-outs result from the need for capabilities, changes in business foci and temporary solutions to deal with overcapacities or lack of alternatives.

Originality/value: The paper contributes to research by discussing contemporary issues in strategy and innovation and relating them to the resource-based view and the growth of the firm. Spin-outs, and acquisitions and divestitures as interlinked events have rarely been focused on in the literature, while they remain frequent phenomena in practice.

Open marketing – Conceptualizing external parties’ strategic marketing activities
Artikel (med peer review)Publikation
Öberg, C.



Open marketing as conceptualized in this paper refers to how external parties take part in strategic, integrative marketing activities. To distinguish this more recent trend in marketing from traditional meanings of marketing, the paper provides a typology on roles and role keepers in marketing. Four types of roles and role keepers are outlined: marketing as 1) solely being performed by actors in the supplier company communicating offerings, 2) an activity shared among functions of the supplier company, 3) external parties communicating offerings, and 4) external parties contributing to strategic marketing. Using the concept of ‘roles’ in marketing helps to structure activities and actors – or roles and role keepers – and provides a basis for understanding that marketing results from what is done, not merely from who performs it. The paper underlines how new ways of conducting business also have implications for a company’s marketing beyond its borders.

Tension in networks
Artikel (med peer review)Publikation
Öberg, C., Dahlin, P. & Pesämaa, O.



Tension refers to contradictions and mostly implies any two parties disagreeing. This paper extends the lens from tension on dyadic levels to describe it in the smallest of networks: the triad. Adopting a multiple-case study methodology illustrating triadic relationships in three different settings, the paper points to how tension may occur among firms in a triad, relate to two of them, or involve all three parties. In the handling of tension and opposed to the dyadic relationship, a single party cannot easily disconnect from all its network parties, and the network discussion thereby contextualises the discussion on tension, while putting focus on the dynamics of tension. As the findings indicate, the handling may, namely, lead to new tension on a dyadic or triadic level. Compared to studies grasping tension as contradictions between two parties and thereby as a research contribution, this present study indicates how the tension may “move” around the network as initial tension is dealt with. If tension is handled through diffusion specifically, including the connection with new parties, it suggests to without exception lead to new tension, while coalition leads to decreased tension in the triad.

Visa fler

Ratio är ett fristående forskningsinstitut som forskar om hur företagandets villkor kan utvecklas och förbättras.

Sveavägen 59 4trp

Box 3203

103 64 Stockholm

Postgiro: 382621-1


Bankgiro: 512-6578