Startups’ strategic focus - drivers and performance implications of organizational ambidexterity in new ventures

Key Info

Basic Information

Lehrstuhl für Wirtschaftswissenschaften für Ingenieure und Naturwissenschaftler
Bachelor; Master


At some point, even start-ups need to (re-)consider their strategic focus. Extant literature on incumbent organizations differentiates an exploitation focus, i.e., organizations that exploit existing competencies and an exploration focus, i.e., organizations that explore new opportunities. Businesses that purse both simultaneously with equal dexterity are so called “ambidextrous organizations”. To date, it remains unclear, when which focus is most promising for start-ups and what a start-up’s focus mean for the performance of their ventures. Particularly it is yet to be discussed under which circumstances an ambidextrous focus can be beneficial for new ventures.

The goal of the thesis is to analyze these core questions and thus support founders in the development of their innovative startups.

The specific thesis question can be developed together. Possible examples would be:
- What are the drivers of an ambidextrous setup in startups?
- What influence do the founders have on the strategic focus of their startups?
- What are the financial and non-financial performance impacts of organizational ambidexterity in startups?

What's in for you?
- Ongoing personal mentoring and coaching
- In-depth insights into research on this cutting-edge topic
- Access to a unique interview primary dataset of startup founders in the U.S., if needed
- Contacts within the startup scene

Literature for initial reading:
Lubatkin, M. H., Simsek, Z., Ling, Y., & Veiga, J. F. (2006). Ambidexterity and performance in small-to medium-sized firms: The pivotal role of top management team behavioral integration. Journal of Management, 32(5), 646–672.
Parida, V., Lahti, T., & Wincent, J. (2016). Exploration and exploitation and firm performance variability: a study of ambidexterity in entrepreneurial firms. International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, 12(4), 1147–1164.
Tarba, S. Y., Jansen, J. J. P., Mom, T. J. M., Raisch, S., & Lawton, T. C. (2020). A microfoundational perspective of organizational ambidexterity: Critical review and research directions. Long Range Planning, 53(6).

Keywords: Organizational ambidexterity, Strategic focus, Startups, Entrepreneurship