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Doctors/Dr. BOGAERT Jean-Christophe

Dr. BOGAERT Jean-Christophe

Jean-Christophe Bogaert has spent his whole career in the field of industrial biotechnology where he held different positions such as production manager, R&D manager and business development director.

After 7 years in China as Managing Director of a Belgo-Chinese joint-venture company, he is now Vice-President of Sales, Marketing and Business Development at a global level. He also acts as non-executive director and member of the board in different organizations.

He holds an Engineering degree in Biochemistry, a master degree in Business Engineering and a master degree in Corporate Finance.

He joined the Business Science Institute in 2015 and defended his thesis, “Organizational ambidexterity for medium-sized firms in a context of growing uncertainty”, in September 2017.

Thesis Summary

Organizational ambidexterity for medium-sized firms in a context of growing uncertainty.

Managers are constantly exposed to the increasing complexity of our fast-paced, globalized, interconnected and hyper-competitive world. In such an increasingly unpredictable context, structuring an organization and designing a strategy that balances the needs for short-term profitability with long-term survival is becoming growingly difficult. Organizational ambidexterity has been proposed as a means of managing these contradictory objectives, but its effect on the longevity of organizations remains largely unproven. We discuss this issue by situating it in the academic literature and propose that business segments that are highly exposed to a very uncertain environment benefit from the application of an ambidextrous strategy according to a constantly evolving dynamic process superimposing different measures, varying in intensity; and from the regular modification of this mix in response to external stimuli and newly acquired internal capabilities. Hence the question pertaining to how to operate this, especially in medium-sized companies (SMEs) with constrained resources; a domain that has also been largely overlooked by management scholars so far.

Our analysis proceeds by a longitudinal single case study covering the 25 years of existence of a medium-sized company operating internationally in the field of industrial biotechnology. It relies on a mix of quantitative and qualitative methods with the aim to abductively search for explanations for the events observed so as to enrich the current view of the manner in which generative mechanisms are activated and underlying processes put to work in regard to contextual conditions.

In light of our findings, we argue that SMEs operating in turbulent environments with high technological content would benefit from combining a highly flexible organic-type of structure at the decision-making level with a more mechanistic structure at the execution level. We show that organizational ambidexterity can advantageously be achieved in medium-sized companies by nurturing a customer-centric effectual approach for projects belonging to short development cycles in combination with a strict stage-gate system resorting to a classical causal logic for projects imbedded in long development cycles. We also claim that the integration of effectual logic into business practices at the operational level creates an ongoing and affordable opportunity for the variation, selection and retention of new knowledge and capabilities that helps the company stay ambidextrous and makes it more robust in the face of environmental change. Overall, the integration of our observations, as diverse as they are varied, confirms that organizational ambidexterity is a rich, complex and multilayered concept that must be dynamically analyzed in the light of the company's available resources, especially when they are limited as for the majority of mid-sized firms; but also with regards to the surrounding environmental changes, especially when these are accelerating and becoming unpredictable.