Evans Authors: Stephen B. Page

This article extends the concept of organizational ambidexterity to encompass knowledge exploration and exploitation in cross-sector collaborations. Collaborations are frequently charged to devise or implement innovative solutions to longstanding complex public problems. Research on organizational management suggests that the capability to both explore and exploit knowledge—dubbed organizational ambidexterity—is an important contributor to innovation and long-term organizational performance. If cross-sector collaborations must innovate to address longstanding problems, and innovation requires the ability to explore and exploit knowledge, then collaborations too should benefit from developing ambidextrous capabilities. Using an illustrative case of a large-scale cross-sector collaboration in the transportation field, we investigate whether and how a cross-sector collaboration can explore and exploit knowledge. Based on our analysis, we demonstrate that collaborative ambidexterity exists and discuss external antecedents and mechanisms internal to the collaboration that enable collaborative ambidexterity. We conclude with a set of propositions to advance theory and provide an agenda for future research.