Date of Submission


Document Type



Doctor of Education




ambidexterity, nonprofit leadership, co-constructed change, resource dependency, paradox


A leader in a nonprofit organization needs the confidence of their team to deliver stable, high-value services to stakeholders while simultaneously adapting to environmental changes. This balance is critical for the Collaborative, the nonprofit organization at the centre of this organizational improvement plan (OIP). The Collaborative’s operating conditions are characterized by reliance on short-term government funding, environmental uncertainty, complex stakeholder relationships, and a dual focus on social mission and financial viability. The problem of practice is a loss of confidence in leadership, which is triggered by these complex conditions. At the heart of this OIP is the argument that the complex environment in which the Collaborative operates demands a paradoxical approach and organizational model that is ambidextrous, meaning it is oriented towards both managerial efficiency and emergent exploration. This OIP combines distributed, adaptive, and operational leadership approaches to construct a conceptual model that aids achievement of the Collaborative’s social mission and financial viability in a postmodern environment. Using a collaborative and caring lens as a guide, I present a co-constructed path to incremental organizational change through a pilot project aimed at cultivating individual and organizational learning for ambidexterity. The pilot project empowers organizational actors to explore ambidextrous work practices within psychologically safe environments to maximize learning, participation, and ownership. In the larger context of nonprofit leadership in Canada, this OIP illuminates a path to organizational ambidexterity that works within, rather than against, the constraints of resource dependency to promote the long-term viability and sustainability of high-value nonprofit organizations.