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Criteria to appraise top executives for ambidextrous leadership

Jan Laser (Independent Researcher, Hamburg, Germany)

Journal of Organizational Effectiveness: People and Performance

ISSN: 2051-6614

Article publication date: 13 May 2022

Issue publication date: 22 July 2022




This paper determines and analyses criteria for top executives to use in appraisal systems to promote ambidextrous leadership, enhancing the organization's ability to identify persons who can lead ambidextrously or determining the development potential of existing top executives.


Using a theoretical-conceptual, triangulated approach, the investigation in this paper examines the requirements for top executives to lead ambidextrously. In a subsequent review and frequency analysis, the specific attributes/behaviours a top executive should possess are examined. Analysis of the application of these appraisal criteria is theoretical.


The criteria listed in this paper (e.g. ambition, courage, vision) can be used to foster ambidextrous leadership when hiring or evaluating performance. These and/or the criteria already existing in an organization should be classified in one of the two categories presented (1. one-dimensional criteria: differentiation between exploration/exploitation is not necessary; 2. multidimensional criteria: differentiation between exploration and exploitation, opening and closing leadership, and first- and second-order changes is necessary) to differentiate the criteria and thereby illuminate their application in the areas of exploration and exploitation. Thus, a corresponding assessment of applicants and/or job holders for ambidextrous leadership is possible.


This theoretical analysis contributes to the literature on top executives' recruitment, performance management, career and succession planning, focusing on ambidextrous leadership and organizational development by elucidating a differentiated concept for appraisal criteria so that the right person can be appointed to the top executive position or assigned to the necessary personnel development programme. Thus identified, a top executive may be positioned to maintain, improve or install ambidextrous leadership and practice in an organization.



The author would like to express his profound gratitude to Sven Hauff for his invaluable advice and support in the writing of this paper.


Laser, J. (2022), "Criteria to appraise top executives for ambidextrous leadership", Journal of Organizational Effectiveness: People and Performance, Vol. 9 No. 3, pp. 449-470.



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