Managing ambidexterity in a knowledge management strategy for an International Non-Governmental Organisation




Knowledge Management Strategy, Organisational Ambidexterity, Non-Governmental Organisations, Strategy Development.


The survival of non-government organisations (NGOs) requires that they develop strategies designed for non-profits (Laurett & Ferreira, 2018) given the unique environment in which they operate (Akingbola, 2007; Courtney, 2002) while encapsulating sectoral diversity (Eagleton-Pierce, 2020). Extant research has focused on what NGOs do as opposed to how they perform activities (Lewis, 2014) with the latter offering researchers additional insights on the theoretical frameworks used in practice (Lindenberg, 2001). How organizations strategically respond to their environment can be examined using Miles & Snows (1978) adaptive cycle as an organizing framework.  This research examines, over a two-and-a-half-year period ‘how’ an international non-governmental INGO developed a knowledge management strategy to align its internal operations with its external environment.  This research identifies ‘how’ the adaptive cycle can support and understanding of how knowledge management strategy is developed in practice in INGOs.    

Author Biographies

John Walsh, University of Limerick

John N. Walsh is a lecturer in Knowledge Management in the Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick. His PhD examined the effects of social practices on Knowledge Management Repository Re-Use.  Currently he teaches courses on Knowledge Management and Business Analytics to undergraduate and post-graduate students.   His research interests focus on knowledge sharing and strategy development in non-governmental organisations as well the use of analytics techniques in educational contexts.  He has published in journals such as the Journal of Knowledge Management, Knowledge Management Research and Practice, Journal of Information & Knowledge Management, International Journal of Information Management as well as the International Journal of Management Education.  

Elaine Berkery, University of Limerick

Dr. Elaine Berkery is a Lecturer in Management at the Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick. Her teaching interests are in the area of management, international management and strategic management across health, public and tourism sectors. She teaches on a wide range of programmes at both undergraduate and post-graduate level, and has extensive experience of programme development including the MA in Business Management, for which she was Course Director from 2008 - 2012. She is an Alumnus of the International Teachers Programme (ITP) and has been nominated for the Large Group Teaching Excellence Award at the University of Limerick (2009, 3013). Elaine's main research interests are in the area of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Her research to date has examined areas such as gender in management; workplace flexibility; workforce diversity; and talent management in healthcare organizations. Elaine regularly presents her research to international audiences and has published her research in International Journals.

John Lannon, Doras

John Lannon is CEO of Doras, an independent non-governmental organisation working to promote and protect the rights of people from a migrant background in Ireland. He previously worked as a lecturer and researcher at the University of Limerick and as a consultant with a range of international development and human rights NGOs. He has also served on the boards of Amnesty International Ireland and the Blue Box Creative Arts Therapy Centre. John holds an MA in Peace and Development Studies and a PhD in human rights information management.