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Enabling and leveraging ambidexterity: influence of strategic orientations and knowledge stock

Indu Ramachandran (Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas, USA)
Cynthia A. Lengnick-Hall (University of Texas, San Antonio, Texas, USA)
Vishag Badrinarayanan (Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas, USA)

Journal of Knowledge Management

ISSN: 1367-3270

Article publication date: 12 August 2019

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to develop and empirically test a framework articulating the effects of strategic orientations (entrepreneurial orientation and market orientation) on leveraging ambidexterity. Further, the paper examines the moderating effects of knowledge stock (market knowledge and technological knowledge) on the relationship between ambidexterity and firm performance to gain additional insights into how ambidexterity can be leveraged in an organization.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were obtained from CEOs (or equivalent members of the top management team) of 234 firms. The adequacy and psychometric properties of all measures were evaluated and purified using a maximum likelihood confirmatory factor analysis (CFA), and the hypotheses were tested using ordinary least squares (OLS). A number of post hoc tests were conducted to develop a nuanced understanding of proposed effects.

Findings

While both strategic orientations enhance an organization’s ability to be ambidextrous, results show that some types of knowledge stocks facilitate, whereas other types hinder the influence of ambidexterity on firm performance.

Research limitations/implications

Both strategic orientations enable ambidexterity; however, technological knowledge stock impedes the effect of ambidexterity on firm performance, while market knowledge stock enhances this relation. Cross-sectional nature of the study imposes limitations on causal inferences.

Practical implications

Different strategic orientations provide organizations with a cluster of knowledge acquisition and utilization capabilities that enable ambidexterity. However, organizations should be wary of indiscriminate accumulation of knowledge stocks – while certain types enhance the effect of ambidexterity, others may create competency traps or core rigidities and inhibit the effect of ambidexterity.

Originality/value

This study integrates related, yet hitherto fragmented, research streams to demonstrate the interconnectedness between strategic orientations, ambidexterity and existing knowledge stock. Several theoretical and managerial implications are identified.

Keywords

Citation

Ramachandran, I., Lengnick-Hall, C.A. and Badrinarayanan, V. (2019), "Enabling and leveraging ambidexterity: influence of strategic orientations and knowledge stock", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 23 No. 6, pp. 1136-1156. https://doi.org/10.1108/JKM-11-2018-0688

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited