Leadership and organizational ambidexterity

Saša Baškarada (Defence Science and Technology Group, Melbourne, Australia)
Jamie Watson (Defence Science and Technology Group, Canberra, Australia)
Jason Cromarty (Defence Science and Technology Group, Canberra, Australia)

Journal of Management Development

ISSN: 0262-1711

Publication date: 11 July 2016



The purpose of this paper is to answer calls for more research on how leaders may promote organizational ambidexterity (i.e. exploitation and exploration), and how such behaviors relate to transactional and transformational leadership styles.


The findings presented in this paper are based on semi-structured interviews with 11 senior leaders in Australian Defence.


This paper identifies three organizational mechanisms that leaders rely on to promote exploitation, and five behaviors that leaders rely on to promote exploration. These mechanisms and behaviors closely match transactional and transformational leadership styles, respectively.


This paper provides support for the leadership ambidexterity construct, and for the thesis that transformational leadership is appropriate in the context of exploratory innovation, while transactional leadership is appropriate in the context of exploitative innovation.



© Commonwealth of Australia


Baškarada, S., Watson, J. and Cromarty, J. (2016), "Leadership and organizational ambidexterity", Journal of Management Development, Vol. 35 No. 6, pp. 778-788. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMD-01-2016-0004

Download as .RIS



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Government agency

To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below

You may be able to access this content by logging in via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.
If you think you should have access to this content, click the button to contact our support team.