Theses Doctoral

Conceptualizing and Testing the Model of Ambidextrous Leadership: Evidence from a Multi-Method Research Study

Shon, DaHee

While leaders are constantly called to manage conflicting priorities in today’s fast-changing environments, there is little research that examines how leaders can effectively explore new opportunities while simultaneously exploiting current advantages. Yet, management researchers have long shown that organizations that are ambidextrous—by balancing exploration and exploitation activities—are more innovative and successful. However, this concept of ambidexterity has not been investigated at the leadership level to a great extent, which poses limited practical implications for organizations. Further, there has been a lack of clarity around what constitutes and how to operationalize ambidexterity in the literature. The current research attempts to address these gaps by proposing a preliminary model of ambidextrous leadership. This model is then embedded in a leadership process model to help understand the underlying process of what may predict and result from ambidextrous leadership.
The pilot and Study 1 leveraged self-report and experimental vignette survey methods, and the results from these studies provided preliminary evidence for the validity of the two constructs, exploration and exploitation. The results also demonstrated the impact of a promotion and prevention regulatory focus on exploration and exploitation, respectively, while showing almost no support for the effects of switching on leadership perceptions. The results from Study 2—which leveraged CEOs’ letters to shareholders in the annual reports of S&P 500 companies—provided limited support for the positive effects of achieving high levels of exploration and exploitation compared to being high on only one of them or low on both. Finally, based on the findings from three studies, theoretical and practical implications are discussed.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Social-Organizational Psychology
Thesis Advisors
Noumair, Debra
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
April 30, 2019