The Social-Cognitive Underpinnings of Employees' Ambidextrous Behaviour and the Supportive Role of Group Managers' Leadership

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Research units

  • University of Amsterdam


Although research on organizational ambidexterity has exploded in the past several years, the determinants of individual-level ambidexterity have received little scholarly attention. This is surprising given that management scholars increasingly highlight the benefits of combining explorative and exploitative activities in individual employees' work roles. Using data collected by a two-wave survey of 638 employees nested in 173 groups across 34 organizations, our research demonstrates that both psychological factors and leadership predict employees' ambidextrous behaviour. Our results demonstrate that general self-efficacy positively predicts ambidextrous behaviour through learning orientation. In addition, we show that employees exhibit higher ambidexterity when their group managers demonstrate paradoxical leadership; that is, a leadership style that couples strong managerial support with high performance expectations. Paradoxical leadership also moderates the relationship between learning orientation and individual ambidexterity such that employees' ambidextrous behaviour is highest when paradoxical leadership and employee learning orientation are simultaneously at high levels.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1019–1044
JournalJournal of Management Studies
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Research areas

  • General self-efficacy, Individual ambidexterity, Learning orientation, Paradoxical leadership, Social-cognitive theory

ID: 1729719