Conceptual Framework

Sustaining the Firm

The continued sustainability of companies depends on effective management of the present combined with imaginative vision for the future. On the one hand they need to optimize processes, organizational structure, staffing procedures and the like, to be faster, more cost efficient and responsive to current markets. Such focus allows companies to succeed in the present and near future. But this does not at all ensure continuity in the longer run. In order to achieve this, companies must also regularly assess their vision, encourage innovation, be willing to adjust or change strategies, products, markets and more. This adaptive approach helps them forge a flexible and dynamic roadmap for the medium and long term future. In order then to sustain both short and long term futures companies must work simultaneously on doing the same things better while stimulating and responding to change (doing things differently). It may well be that the emphasis shifts from current optimization to future change management and backwards like a pendulum, depending on such factors as the situation at the individual company, market forces, and the socio-economic environment.

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Following many years of observing and working with both SME’s and large international corporations, we became fascinated by the concept of this “ambidextrous organization” and the formal and informal roles played by various personnel in longitudinally guiding the firm. In particular, we became interested in the integrative impact of three types of personnel – managers, entrepreneurs and leaders – in the sustainable fortunes of the organization. We have initially summarized these three dimensions as focusing on current complexity (Manager), focusing on change (Leader), and focusing on opportunities (Entrepreneur)