By applying a combined theoretical lens to high-performance work systems (HPWSs), organisational development (OD), and socio-technical systems (STS), this paper examines their impact in creating an agile and ambidextrous context for the management of strategic dualities, especially in times of uncertainty. Using a qualitative case study of an emerging market multinational enterprise (EMNE) from the Indian information technology-business process outsourcing (IT-BPO) industry, this paper presents a longitudinal and processual analysis of how, during challenging times of uncertainty in global competition, the sample EMNE had shifted from a purely managerialistic to a more humanistic set of values through OD interventions and investments in digital assets. We identified and discussed critical interventions for the management of various strategic dualities at multiple organisational levels over time. We contribute to the literature by providing exciting insights into an essential yet under-researched issue: namely, how an MNE can balance pressures for local responsiveness and global integration through the effective creation of dual headquarters, especially before and during global financial crises. Due to global pressures, EMNEs face numerous critical dualities when implementing strategic change initiatives aimed at pursuing firm growth. Some of such dualities include the simultaneous pursuit of exploratory and exploitative learning, local responsiveness and global integration, flexibility vs. efficiency, and formal vs. informal organisational structures. Our choice of a ‘critical’ and exemplar EMNE case analysis and our presentation of future research propositions help identify how and why diverse strategies lead to success through agility ambidexterity during challenging and uncertain periods.
- Change management
- High-Performance Work Systems (HPWSs)
- Indian IT-BPO Industry
- Organisational development
- Organizational agility and ambidexterity
- Socio-technical theory