Defense Date

Spring 4-8-2016

Degree Type

Dissertation

Specialization

Management

Department

Business Administration

Chair or Co-Chair

Rebecca Guidice

Committee Member or Co-Chair

Neal Mero

Reader

Steve Werner

Abstract

In response to changing customer demands and increasing competition, companies must balance the need to exploit their current capabilities with the need to explore new capabilities to sustain long-term success. Balancing this duality is at the core of the ambidexterity concept. While ambidexterity research mostly has focused at the firm level of analysis, recent literature indicates the need to analyze the concept at the individual level to increase our understanding of where ambidexterity takes place and how it emerges from context. Understanding the dynamics of the ambidexterity phenomenon at its most basic level will provide organizations with knowledge on how to encourage, promote, and manage ambidextrous behavior. This study examines the influence of how individuals perceive their work environments on their attitudes towards explorative and exploitative activities. Drawing from the ambidexterity, the empowerment, and the ownership literatures, I propose that work environments that help develop individuals’ feeling of empowerment and ownership will tend to motivate ambidextrous behavior. In addition, drawing from self-regulatory theory and accountability research, I propose three moderating factors that will influence the explorative and the exploitative behavior of individuals experiencing psychological empowerment and psychological ownership.

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