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Stimulating employee ambidexterity and employee engagement in SMEs

Oluseyi Moses Ajayi (National Centre for Food Manufacturing, College of Science University of Lincoln, Lincoln, UK)
Kayode Odusanya (Centre for Information Management, School of Business and Economics Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK)
Susan Morton (School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 15 May 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the emerging theory of ambidexterity by developing measures to assess employee ambidexterity. Specifically, it identifies and tests the importance of the relationship between the organisational context and employee ambidexterity within small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Design/methodology/approach

The research used a survey method to investigate SMEs in Nigeria. Two hundred SMEs were selected from across Nigeria to participate in the study and 72 companies responded, representing a 36 per cent response rate. The study sample comprised 398 shop-floor employees from 72 small and medium-sized manufacturing and service organisations.

Findings

The paper tests a model that sheds insight into the linkages between the organisational context, employee ambidexterity and employee engagement. Specifically, the model portrays significant relationships that exist between organisational context, employee ambidexterity and employee engagement. The results show that understanding the appropriate organisational contexts improves employee ambidexterity. Therefore, SMEs with the appropriate organisational contexts for employee ambidexterity and employee engagement will increase their potential for growth and survival.

Originality/value

The paper develops a conceptual model of the organisational context that improves employee ambidexterity and employee engagement.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors declare there is no conflict of interest.

Citation

Ajayi, O.M., Odusanya, K. and Morton, S. (2017), "Stimulating employee ambidexterity and employee engagement in SMEs", Management Decision, Vol. 55 No. 4, pp. 662-680. https://doi.org/10.1108/MD-02-2016-0107

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited