Ambidexterity and mobile hubs as the interfaces for orchestrating multi-level innovation networks and fostering capabilities in innovation processes: evidence from agricultural netchains in Sub-Saharan Africa

Silvia Andrea Pérez Perdomo

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU

Abstract

Tackling complex challenges in innovation processes requires the collaborative efforts of innovation networks at various levels. These innovation networks need to be governed appropriately to manage contradictory but also complementary dynamics for innovation.

Exploration and exploitation are concepts that describe different types of dynamics in innovation processes that require management. In this thesis I present ambidexterity as the higher order managerial capability to orchestrate innovation networks while exploring but also exploiting opportunities to innovate, which entails multiple network capabilities.

I analysed stakeholder testimonies and household level panel data from case studies in Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda to assess the performance of innovation networks that aim to tackle complex challenges of family farms in developing countries. I tested the effectiveness of three network governance mechanisms (first order, second order and meta-governance) and their influence on network capabilities.

An ambidextrous management in multi-stakeholder innovation platforms fosters multiple network capabilities and the emergence of mobile hubs to manage various interfaces of innovation networks. However, in contrast to the management of organisations, I found that the management of innovation networks via network governance mechanisms that focus mainly on managing structural challenges, is not the most effective managerial strategy in innovation processes. Managing exploration and exploitation effectively might need a more ambidextrous management of structural, contextual and temporal challenges in interplay, more ‘govern-ability’ and sufficient resources. I recommend further research on the context as a mediating factor between network governance and network-related capabilities. These findings are relevant for managing effectively multi-stakeholder processes for tackling collectively different types of challenges in different contexts.

Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Omta, S.W.F., Promotor
  • Trienekens, Jacques, Promotor
Award date20 Mar 2018
Place of PublicationWageningen
Publisher
Print ISBNs9789463436823
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2018

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