This research aimed to investigate how GE developed an organisational ambidexterity capability to significantly accelerate its growth in emerging markets. Dissatisfied with its growth in emerging markets, GE launched the Global Growth & Operations organisation (GGO) in November 2010. The internationalisation process had been led by its P&Ls with an exploitation focus and needed a shift towards an exploration focus that would develop disruptive capabilities required to promote growth.
The research was undertaken as a case study of GGO in Sub-Sahara Africa (SSA) to gain an in-depth understanding of how the OA capability was developed and managed at GE. A qualitative research approach was adopted that consisted of a literature survey and 14 semi-structured interviews with senior leaders of the P&Ls and GGO for SSA.
The study found that a top brass leadership, supported unequivocally and well-resourced were key to GGO’s ability to shift GE’s centre of gravity to the emerging markets. A paradox mindset at ease with tension was characteristic of the leaders allowing them to engage constructively. GGO, ambidextrous itself, developed exploration and exploitation capabilities enabling the P&Ls to do business as usual in the emerging markets. A model to develop OA for market expansion was developed.