Ambidexterity, interoperability and the extreme and normal experiences in emergency service contexts: surfacing dynamics, dialectics and trajectories
In recent decades, business, institutional, organizational contexts and environments have witnessed dynamic and radical change and transformations which have affected private and public sectors. These transformations have occurred against a backdrop of emergent crises and a perception that ‘extreme’ events: for instance, wars, terrorism and natural disasters are on the rise. In the public sector, emergency services face particular ‘extreme’ challenges. Unlike many other areas of public service, emergency services frequently deal with macro-situations which might be termed ‘extreme; for example attending scenes of road traffic accidents, fires, rescues, trauma and various forms of crime scene and incident. In contrast to these extreme instances, emergency service members also live in parallel with macro-extreme situations in more micro- everyday ‘normality’ and ‘routine’ within and beyond work. This dialectic of macro-micro situational extreme-normative experience creates a powerful dynamic with which individuals have to live with and negotiate. Furthermore, this extreme-normative experience echoes organizational ambidexterity which describes shifts between predictable exploitative and uncertain explorative environments and new forms of organization. This paper examines these dynamics in a health context (the ambulance service) by engaging and applying an exploitive-explorative conceptual framework of organizational ambidexterity. The research finds that while there is a recognition and acknowledgement of the presence of macro-type extremes in the ambulance service, the role and impact of more micro-situational extremes is less profiled and understood. In particular, it is the dynamic between, the living with, and the handling of, these two aspects of ambulance service workers everyday experience which the paper provides insights.
Citation : Stokes, P., Wankhade, P. and Tarba, S. (2017) Ambidexterity, interoperability and the extreme and normal experiences in emergency service contexts: surfacing dynamics, dialectics and trajectories, 10th International Critical Management Studies Conference, 3rd-5th July, Liverpool/Edgehill University.
Research Institute : Centre for Enterprise and Innovation (CEI)
Peer Reviewed : Yes