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Press Release

Press Release

Doctoral thesis in Information Systems

M.Sc. (Econ. & Bus. Adm.) Henrik Nyman’s doctoral thesis in Information Systems will be put forth for public defence at the Faculty of Social Sciences, Business and Economics, and Law at Åbo Akademi University.

Henrik Nyman.
Henrik Nyman

The thesis is entitled The Ambidextrous Organization: Antecedents of Exploration and Exploitation Examining Nokia’s Growth to Market Leadership and Failure at Renewal.

The public defence of the doctoral thesis takes place on 22 March at 1.15 PM at lecture hall XXII, Agora, Vesilinnankatu 3, Turku. You can also attend the doctoral defence online. Professor Risto Rajala, Aalto University, Espoo will serve as opponent and Professor Anssi Öörni, Åbo Akademi University, as custos.


A persistent question in strategic management is how organizations learn new things while also making use of current competences. In this thesis, I will examine how Nokia grew to become a leader in telecommunications, and how this leadership position was eroded when new competitors entered the market. I will examine the turn of events at Nokia through a lens of exploration and exploitation, defined as the capacity to develop new competences and the ability to benefit from existing competences. The ability to do both at the same time has also been denoted as ambidexterity. Studies indicate that ambidexterity can support the long-term competitiveness of companies, especially those operating in more dynamic environments such as high-tech. However, the exact mechanisms for supporting ambidexterity remain unclear.

In this thesis, I will examine Nokia’s ability to explore and exploit from the start of the nineties until the mobile phone division was divested in 2013. My findings indicate that the starting point for successful exploration is a clear definition of strategic intent. This becomes particularly important if the organization is faced with exogenous shocks such as market disruptions. Such exogenous shocks might also require a redefinition of strategic intent. Further, ambidexterity relies on structures that are maintained through a balance of formal and informal control. In practice, this means that a focus and ways of working is governed not only by clearly specified processes, rules, and incentives, but also with the help of unwritten mechanisms such as group norms, organizational culture, and values. This balance between different modes of control was skewed at Nokia, both in the early nineties and from roughly 2007 onwards.

Henrik Nyman was born in 1976 in Mariehamn. Han can be reached by phone +358 50 367 2361 or email henrik.j.nyman@abo.fi.

The doctoral thesis can be read online through the Doria publication archive.

Click here for a press photo of the doctoral student.

Instructions for following the doctoral defence remotely:

To follow the defence, you need the Zoom software or the Google Chrome browser. You do not need to create a Zoom account to follow the defence. If you install the application, you participate by clicking on the meeting link, after which you should allow the link to open in the Zoom app.