An empirical study of the impact of goal orientation on individual ambidexterity – moderating roles of goal interdependence and constructive controversy

Shuting Xiang (School of International Business, Southwestern University of Finance and Economics, Chengdu, Sichuan, China)
Guoquan Chen (Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management, Beijing, China)
Wei Liu (Business School, Central University of Finance and Economics, Beijing, China)
Qiwei Zhou (Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management, Beijing, China)
Shuo Xing (School of Economics and Management, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China)

Nankai Business Review International

ISSN: 2040-8749

Publication date: 5 August 2019

Abstract

Purpose

Ambidexterity is the source of organizational sustainable development and long-term success. However, understanding the role of individual ambidexterity in organizations remains underdeveloped. Recently, scholars have increasingly emphasized the importance of individual ambidexterity, calling for more research on the topic. This study aims to explore the factors influencing individual ambidexterity. It proposed that goal orientation would be related to individual ambidexterity, and perceived cooperative goal interdependence and constructive controversy would play moderating roles in this relationship.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper opted for a survey study. Questionnaires were distributed to enterprise managers from a part-time MBA program at a university located in Beijing, China. They were also asked to bring copies to their colleagues, so they could fill them out. The authors obtained 229 valid questionnaires and used hierarchical regression analysis to test the relationships.

Findings

The results revealed that both learning goal orientation and performance goal orientation were significantly and positively related to individual ambidexterity. Perceived cooperative goal interdependence and constructive controversy positively moderated the relationship between learning goal orientation/ performance goal orientation and individual ambidexterity.

Practical implications

The paper provides beneficial suggestions for both managers and employees. It offers a reference for managers regarding how to promote employee ambidexterity. It also provides suggestions for employee career development.

Originality/value

The paper explored the factors influencing ambidextrous activities at the individual level, a very scare approach in extant studies. It also constructed a systematic process mechanism of individual ambidexterity, integrating both internal and external factors.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors acknowledge financial support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (71772099, 71421061, and 71121001) and Tsinghua University Research Plan Foundation (2016THZWLJ03).

Citation

Xiang, S., Chen, G., Liu, W., Zhou, Q. and Xing, S. (2019), "An empirical study of the impact of goal orientation on individual ambidexterity – moderating roles of goal interdependence and constructive controversy", Nankai Business Review International, Vol. 10 No. 3, pp. 465-484. https://doi.org/10.1108/NBRI-11-2018-0070

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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