Bowing Before Dual Gods: How Structured Flexibility Sustains Organizational Hybridity
The increasing prevalence and variety of hybrid organizations challenges scholars and practitioners. How do these organizations successfully sustain seemingly incompatible missions and goals over time? Mounting research emphasizes either stable organizational features or dynamic processes. Our in-depth, 10-year study of a social enterprise in Southeast Asia highlights the critical role of both, unfolding how consistent organizational features and shifting enactment processes interact to sustain seemingly incompatible dual missions. We capture these findings in a model of structured flexibility. The model shows how ongoing processual shifts in meanings and practices create flexibility in how leaders enact dual missions. Such flexibility, however, depends on consistent, stable organizational features --in particular, dedicated structures, roles, and relationships that serve as guardrails holding leaders accountable to each mission, as well as leaders' paradoxical cognitive frames that accommodate both contradictory and interdependent relationships between dual missions. By unpacking the interplay between stable and dynamic aspects of dual missions, our structured flexibility model offers new insight into how hybridity unfolds and is sustained over time.