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Michael L. Tushman: A Practice-Informed Explorer and Organizational Scholar with a Focus on Viable Organizations

  • Sonja Sackmann
Living reference work entry

Abstract

This paper explores the contributions of organization theorist Michael L. Tushman to the field of organization change and development. The first section gives an overview of his early professional development and important professional stages followed by his key contributions to the field. These include his early focus on innovation and boundary spanning roles in innovation systems as well as an information processing approach for understanding and designing organizations also using network analysis. His quest for phenomena-driven and practically relevant work with a focus on the entire system and processes leads to the development of the congruence model – a general model to research, understand, assess, and further develop organizations. His work with doctoral students resulted in the punctuated equilibrium model that he applied to both organizations and technological changes as external forces of change. Another important contribution is his effort in solving Abernathy’s productivity dilemma by developing the concept of ambidextrous organizations. These can deal with the apparent paradox of simultaneous exploitation and exploration. Ambidextrous organizations require, however, ambidextrous leadership – a concept that he explored in detail with his long-term colleague and friend Charles O’Reilley. The final section gives an overview of the many awards that he received up to this point as well as the way in which he worked. Most of his theories and frameworks were codeveloped with colleagues and doctoral students in a dialogical fashion. The paper closes with Michael Tushman’s future concerns whether the developed theories, models, and recommendations regarding innovation will still hold in an increasingly web-based society.

Keywords

Ambidexterity, ambidextrous organization, ambidextrous leader Congruence model Contradictions and paradoxes at the organizational level Executive succession Exploration, exploitation Open system Organizational evolution Organizational innovation Organizational transformation as punctuated change Productivity dilemma Punctuated equilibrium in technological change Technological change, technological discontinuities 

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Further Reading

  1. Adler, P. S., Benner, M., Brunner, D. J., MacDuffie, J. P.; Osono, E., Staats, B. R., Takeuchi, H., Tushman, M. L., & Winter, S. G. (2009). Perspectives on the productivity dilemma. Journal of Operations Management, 27(2), 99–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economics, Management and Organization Sciences, EZO Institute for Developing Viable OrganizationsUniversity Bundeswehr MunichNeubibergGermany

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