Exploratory studies into strategies to enhance innovation-driven international competitiveness in a port context: Toward ambidextrous ports
Auteur: R.M.A. Hollen
Research has highlighted that firms competing in dynamic environments have to balance exploitative (efficiency-directed) activities with explorative (innovation-directed) ones in order to remain internationally competitive. In economically advanced countries, whose competitiveness is innovation-driven, this prerequisite of ambidexterity also holds at the aggregate level of (sea)ports. Ports, being important junctions in international integrated chain systems, however, appear to focus predominantly on exploiting their existing assets and market position, minimizing the costs of freight flows, and enhancing overall efficiency levels.This dissertation contains six different exploratory studies into how efficiency-dominated ports in economically advanced countries can become more ambidextrous and, in turn, strengthen their innovation-driven international competitiveness. These studies variably emphasize how firms, business associations and, in particular, port authorities can play a role in this endeavor. Drawing on case study findings and prior literature, it is shown how new ways of organizing and managing, i.e. management innovation, introduced by these organizations at the intra-, inter- or multi-organizational level may contribute to enhanced resource productivity, greater environmental performance, advancements in technological innovation, improved safety procedures in ports, and to a more innovative business climate in general. Also, it is elaborated how the business model of port authorities and, in this connection, their strategic use of generic policy instruments are related with a port’s level of strategic connectivity and strategic value creation for its country. Several conceptual framework and propositions are developed that provide interesting directions in which future studies on management innovation, multi-organizational collaboration, and port authority strategies may be usefully enriched.