The Development of Individual Ambidexterity Across Institutional Environments: Symmetric and Configurational Analyses.

VerfasserZhang, Jing A.

1 Introduction

Individual ambidexterity conceptualised as the individual's capability to simultaneously pursue exploration and exploitation (Tempelaar & Rosenkranz, 2019) lies at the micro-foundation of organisational ambidexterity (Gibson & Birkinshaw, 2004; Kauppila & Tempelaar, 2016). However, due to the trade-off between exploration and exploitation, it is difficult for individuals to "excel simultaneously at both exploration and exploitation" (Gupta et al., 2006, p. 696), which makes it important to understand "what makes an individual ambidextrous" (Raisch et al., 2009, p. 687). Scholars adopting the contextual perspective of ambidexterity (Gibson & Birkinshaw, 2004; O'Reilly & Tushman, 2004) have examined how contextual factors, such as organisational coordination mechanisms (Mom et al., 2009), performance incentives (Lee & Meyer-Doyle, 2017), human resource practices (Mom et al., 2019) and organisational culture (Lee et al., 2020), influence individual ambidexterity.

Nevertheless, a growing literature focusing on microfoundations of ambidexterity has identified some individual predispositions, such as motivational factors (Jasmand et al., 2012), neuro brain regions (Laureiro-Martfnez et al., 2015) and self-efficacy (Kaupplia and Tempelaar, 2016), as determinants of individual ambidexterity. These studies shed some light on how individuals differ in cognitive characteristics that lead to different outcomes of individual ambidexterity (Bidmon & Boe-Lillegraven, 2020). This cognitive perspective of individual ambidexterity posits that individuals use cognitive mechanisms to prioritise their decisions on whether and how they engage in ambidexterity (Gibson & Birkinshaw, 2004; Ossenbrink et al., 2019), and more specifically, whether they pursue exploration and exploitation at a single point of time (Schnellbacher et al., 2019; Tempelaar & Rosenkranz, 2019) or switch between exploration and exploitation (Bidmon & Boe-Lillegraven, 2020). This prior research has focussed on a single cognitive factor and its direct effects on individual ambidexterity. Studies which look at how cognitive resources integrate to enable individual ambidexterity to remain limited (Tempelaar & Rosenkranz, 2019).

Social cognitive theory (SCT) argues that individuals' cognitive and ability traits are influenced by not only micro-level behavioural features but also institutional environments (Wood & Bandura, 1989). Recent research in international business (IB) also suggests that institutional environments are important boundary conditions for organisational ambidexterity (Egelhoff, 2020). Despite this impetus, a comprehensive understanding and a systemic analysis of how institutional environments interact with micro-level cognitive traits to generate expected outcomes of innovation is not available (Boudreaux et al., 2019). Grounded in SCT and drawing on the ambidexterity and the IB literature, we address these issues by developing a conceptual model to examine how individual ambidexterity is facilitated by individual selfefficacy and resilience across different institutional environments.

Self-efficacy and resilience are crucial cognitive/psychological attributes that enable individuals to develop their capabilities in an institutional context (Lenihan et al., 2019). Specifically, self-efficacious people engage in goal-achievement activities and repetitively pursue those goals even in the face of failures (Hirst et al., 2018). This tenacity facilitates resilience, which helps individuals to cope with the negative or stressful emotions. Building on these tenets, we propose that self-efficacy facilitates individual ambidexterity via resilience. Moreover, institutions as rule setters of the game are considered as a basis for resource exchange, allocation, and transaction through the imposition of constraints (Wood & Bandura, 1989). We argue that with well-developed institutions, individuals can leverage the external facilitation to enhance individual ambidexterity. We focus on the contingent effects of economic institutional environment on the micro-level causal path relationship between selfefficacy, resilience, and individual ambidexterity. This investigation is important because economic institutions define economic rules and have rapid changes that can influence individuals' ability to "exploit their socio-cognitive resources" to pursue innovation (Boudreaux et al., 2019, p. 180).

Empirically, following Richter, Sinkovics, et al. (2016) recommendations for international business research, we employ the partial least squares modelling method (PLS-SEM) to examine our conceptual model by using data collected in China, New Zealand and Australia. We further employ finite mixture partial least squares (FIMIX-PLS) analysis (Hair et al., 2016) and fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA) (Fiss, 2011) to evaluate unobserved heterogeneity (Gelhard et al., 2016). Importantly, fsQCA allows us to complement the findings from PLS-SEM and shed further light on the distinct configurations of antecedent factors of individual ambidexterity.

This study makes two primary contributions. We firstly contribute to the IB literature with a set of micro-foundation findings in different institutional contexts by addressing the call for micro-foundational research on ambidexterity in IB (Christofi et al., 2021) and cognitive/psychological explanations for ambidexterity (Kauppila & Tempelaar, 2016). Our study advances our understanding of how micro-level selfefficacy promulgates individual resilience that determines individual ambidexterity across macro-level economic institutions. The analysis shows that economic institutions alter the impact of individual resources (i.e., self-efficacy and resilience) on individual ambidexterity. These findings build a nascent link of individual resources and capabilities with institutional environments which sheds new light on the implication of micro-foundations across institutional contexts (Felin et al., 2012).

Second, we employ both PLS-SEM and fsQCA analysis, providing a new option for future ambidexterity and IB studies. Prior research had applied both PLS-SEM and fsQCA respectively to investigate IB research questions (Jean et al., 2018; Lin, 2020) respectively. The simultaneous use of PLS-SEM and fsQCA enables us to have complementary insights into our findings. Specifically, PLS-SEM provides the effects sizes of measures of self-efficacy, resilience, and individual ambidexterity and our conditional mediation (CoMe) analysis in PLS-SEM enables us to precisely explain the differences of the strengths of the relationship between self-efficacy, resilience, and individual ambidexterity in different economic institutions. fsQCA provides an in-depth understanding of the complex and synergistic effects of selfefficacy, resilience, and economic institutions on individual ambidexterity.

2 Theoretical Background and Hypothesis Development

2.1 Individual Ambidexterity and Social Cognitive Factors

While ambidexterity has been discussed in several different ways such as adaptability and alignment (Gibson & Birkinshaw, 2004), flexibility and efficiency (Adler et al., 1999; Yu et al., 2020), and radical and incremental innovation (Smith & Tushman, 2005), the most predominant view conceptualizes ambidexterity based on "March's (1991) notions of exploration and exploitation" (Simsek et al., 2009, p. 865; Zimmermann et al., 2015). Building on this insight, individual ambidexterity refers to an individual's dynamic ability to simultaneously engage in, and/or switch between, exploration and exploitation (Kauppila & Tempelaar, 2016; Mom et al., 2009; Rogan & Mors, 2014; Tempelaar & Rosenkranz, 2019; Zhang et al., 2022). Exploration and exploitation stem from different underlying knowledge, entail different challenges, and require different learning processes to develop (Lee & Meyer-Doyle, 2017). As a result, individuals' decisions on ambidexterity are not dependent on organisational management (Ossenbrink et al., 2019). Rather, the cognitive perspective of ambidexterity suggest that micro-level ambidexterity is associated with complex cognitive characteristics and processes (Gupta et al., 2006; Tempeleer and Rosenkranz, 2019). This perspective aligns with social cognitive theory, arguing that individuals' behaviour is influenced by the characteristics of a set of personal resources and capabilities in environmental contexts (Wood & Bandura, 1989). Building on this perspective we posit that individual self-efficacy and resilience, as two important types of personal capital (Luthans et al., 2007), influence individual ambidexterity. Selfefficacy represents beliefs in one's abilities and skills to "mobilise the motivation, cognitive resources, or courses of action needed to successfully execute a specific task within a given context" (Stajkovic & Luthans, 1998, p. 66), and resilience refers to an individual's "developable capacity to rebound or bounce back from adversity, conflict, failure, or even positive events, progress, and increased responsibility" (Luthans, 2002, p. 702).

Specifically, the mixed findings of significant (Kauppila & Tempelaar, 2016) and insignificant (see Jansen et al., 2016) effects of self-efficacy on ambidexterity in the literature suggest that the force of self-efficacy per se may be insufficient to fully explain ambidexterity. We therefore contend that resilience serves as an effective mechanism that integrates self-efficacy to facilitate individual ambidexterity. We further posit that institutions are an influential contingency on which individual ambidexterity is developed from the integration of self-efficacy and resilience as institutions are the "rules of the game" that determine "the subjective mental constructs that individuals use to interpret the world around them and make choices" (North, 1990, p. 3). Thus, individual cognitive/psychological (e.g., self-efficacy; resilience) and...

Um weiterzulesen


VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT