Exploring the relationship between quality ambidexterity and sustainable production

Paulo J. Gomes*, Graça Miranda Silva, Joseph Sarkis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Organizational sustainability requires production systems improvement and adaptation simultaneously balancing environmental, social and business dimensions. This exploratory study investigates how quality management exploitation and exploration may ambidextrously contribute to support environmentally sustainable production development. The study uses data collected through an online survey from ISO 9001 certified manufacturing firms. Drawing upon organizational ambidexterity in management literature, and using fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA) to examine the data, we develop a set of propositions that link quality ambidexterity to environmentally sustainable production. Results reveal alternative equifinal configurations of quality management practices that lead to environmentally sustainable production. All configurations combine quality exploration and exploitation practices. The consideration of multiple goals, and especially the requirement for cost efficiency, reveals tensions between the two quality learning modes. The study provides evidence that quality management ambidexterity, the simultaneous presence of quality exploitation and exploration practices, is an important determinant of environmentally sustainable production. The findings provide insights for managers on how to leverage organizational improvement capabilities to achieve sustainability goals.
Original languageEnglish
Article number107560
Peer-reviewed scientific journalInternational Journal of Production Economics
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 18.11.2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • Sustainable production
  • Quality management
  • Exploitation
  • Exploration
  • Ambidexterity
  • Qualitative comparative analysis (QCA)

Areas of Strength and Areas of High Potential (AoS and AoHP)

  • AoHP: Humanitarian and societal logistics


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