A quick research shows the field of lean management has been increasing in importance, as more and more organizations seem to introduce lean principles into their enterprise management. The benefits of this process management, mostly regarding the exploitation part of ambidextrous organizations, have been well measured and documented (Arnheiter & Maleyeff, 2005; Salah, Rahim & Carretero, 2010). Fundamentally, the principles of lean management can be reduced to 3 core values. The principle of waste reduction is a fundamental idea of lean management. The lean concept is meant to add value for the customer by eliminating any activity that does not contribute along the product value flow. Another keystone of lean management is its process-centered focus. It aims to achieve quality along every step of the process, in a similar logic to that of the focus of waste reduction at the point of origin. Lean focus stresses the not only the importance of solving an issue along the process, but to also prevent the reoccurrence of the very same mistake.
Lastly, lean management underlines the importance of participation and high involvement of the people. The advanced human resource management practices inherent in LM (versatile workers, worker involvement in work standardisation, teamwork and the existence of improvement groups) and a continuous-improvement culture in the organization can facilitate the adoption of environmental management principles and practices (Rothenberg et al., 2001; Soltero and Waldrip, 2002)
Ambidexterity or dual organizational forms enable a firm with highly differentiated units to drive exploitation by means of the process management, through variation reduction and control, as well as exploration, by means of new options creation. Nevertheless, since process management favors exploitative units and processes, the crowding out of experimentation must be avoided. (Tushman &O’Reilly, 1997). Explorative units provide variation to incremental innovation and awards the senior management options for the future, whereas exploitative units improve current capabilities and effectiveness in the short run (McGrath,1999). Nevertheless, the same practices that help an organization learn and achieve efficiency more quickly can also impede an organization’s adaptation to major technological transitions (Levinthal, 1991, 1997a).
In a real case scenario, organizations compete both in the short and long run and they must simultaneously meet both current and new customer demands. In other words, successful businesses have to satisfy the demands of exploitative and explorative processes at the same time. Organizational ambidexterity demands a reconciliation between the paradoxical requirements, by integrating the two inconsistent architectures within a single form. The exploitive and explorative principle, internally inconsistent, must remain tactically uncoupled. However, in order to achieve both streams of innovation and organizational efficiency, these ideas must be strategically reconciled under the integrative leadership of a senior management team (Benner & Tushman, 2003).
Arnheiter, E. D., & Maleyeff, J. (2005). The integration of lean management and Six Sigma. The TQM magazine, 17(1), 5-18.
Salah, S., Rahim, A., & Carretero, J. A. (2010). The integration of Six Sigma and lean management. International Journal of Lean Six Sigma, 1(3), 249-274.