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Ambidextrous Leadership : the role of flexibly switching between opening and closing leadership behaviors for team innovative outcome in the case of management consultancies

Schindler, Anna (2015) Ambidextrous Leadership : the role of flexibly switching between opening and closing leadership behaviors for team innovative outcome in the case of management consultancies.

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Abstract:Ambidexterity, defined as the firm’s ability to balance exploration and exploitation, has been identified as requirement for innovation. Although initially developed as an organizational learning capability, the achievement of an ambidextrous organization is first and foremost a leadership challenge. As one approach to ambidextrous leadership as a predictor of innovation, Rosing, Frese and Bausch (2011) propose a model which defines an ambidextrous leader as being able to flexibly switch between opening and closing behaviors according to the respective task of the innovation process. Focusing on management consultancy teams as a practical setting, this empirical study is one of the first to address Rosing et al.’s (2011) ambidextrous leadership model in form of a qualitative research design. By conducting 10 semi-structured interviews with management consulting project leaders, information were collected and analyzed first to derive conclusions about the dynamics of opening and closing leadership behaviors along a project, secondly to identify factors that cause a leader to switch between those contrasting leadership behaviors, and last to provide an indication about the effect of opening and closing leadership behaviors for innovative team outcome. Findings provide support for the conclusion that both opening and closing leadership behaviors are required to contribute to team innovative outcome, whereas a general tendency towards closing leadership behaviors can be derived. Besides, phases along a consultancy project were found to be overlapping and hardly distinguishable. Therefore, the context of management consultancy indicates the need of a high degree of consistency in the project leader’s behavior. At the same time, people and project related factors require the leader to gradually adapt behavior in correspondence to the situation. In consequence, results point towards the claim that leadership behaviors should be as constant as possible, but as adaptive to the situation as necessary. All in all, findings of the study suggest that instead of flexibly switching between opening and closing leadership behaviors, team innovation is more enhanced when those behaviors are continuously balanced. This balance implies that both kinds of behaviors ought to be present at the same time, but to a different degree according to the situation.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Business Administration MSc (60644)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/66924
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