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Individual Ambidexterity, Relational Context and Academic Entrepreneurship Performance: Too Much of a Good Thing?
journal contributionposted on 2023-05-16, 11:36 authored by Yi-Ying Chang, Paul Hughes, Gary Chapman, Che-Yuan Chang
Scholars have called for a better understanding of individual ambidexterity and its performance consequences. Drawing on the context of academic entrepreneurship, we respond to these calls by developing theory and empirical evidence on how individual ambidexterity impacts individual performance. We theorise that individual ambidexterity gives rise to complementarities, cognitions and attributes that enhance individual performance. However, this only holds up to a point, after which over-exploration and over-exploitation can occur, and the switching and coordination costs of ambidexterity rise, resulting in decreasing returns. We further argue that the individual ambidexterity performance relationship is contingent on an individuals’ relational context. Relationships with important external partners can provide access to knowledge, resources and finance that can enhance the individual performance effects of individual ambidexterity. We test our theory through three studies of academics involved in commercialisation in Taiwan. In all three studies, we find strong support for our theory; namely, an inverted U-shaped relationship between individual ambidexterity and individual performance, and that relational context moderates the relationship. We contribute a better understanding of the performance consequences of individual ambidexterity, the conditions under which ambidextrous individuals are successful, and the individual-level drivers of academic entrepreneurship. We discuss policy and practice implications.