This thesis examines how retail firms in emerging markets balance exploration and exploration under the banner of organisational ambidexterity. Balancing exploration and exploitation in organisations has emerged as one of the primary problems in management research. While a firm''s ability to simultaneously pursue both exploitative and explorative innovation has been put forward as positively contributing to performance effects, scholarly endeavours to resolve the ambidexterity question have left a disparate gap in the understanding of how ambidexterity can be achieved, particularly so in retail firms operating in emerging markets.
A case study approach was used to investigate the experiences of a South African retail firm (Organisation A) in the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector and how it implements and manages its business strategy to counter emerging market challenges. Five in-depth interviews were conducted and extensive secondary data was collected and analysed to build on constructs identified in existing literature. This study confirmed that there is empirical evidence that the paradox of exploration and exploitation exists and is practiced by retailers in South Africa. The research further confirmed that these firms use collaborations with independent informal retailers to gain a better understanding of township emerging markets. This study provides a deeper understanding of how formal retailers in South Africa combine their capabilities with informal retailers to create hybrid business models that they use to explore new markets while exploiting their existing capabilities.
Mini Dissertation (MBA)--University of Pretoria, 2017.