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Title: Ambidexterity and leadership : a multilevel analysis of the aerospace and defense organizations
Author: Gianzina-Kassotaki, Olga
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2017
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Abstract:
The global security concerns combined with the emergence of firms operating at international level have intensified the competition among companies in the aerospace and defense sector. In this challenging business environment, the adoption of organizational ambidexterity could provide a company with the key advantage in dealing with the increasing competitive forces. Organizational ambidexterity, which denotes the simultaneous use of exploration and exploitation in organizations, ensures both short-term profitable operation through the exploitation of successful current products and long-term survival through the exploration of innovative solutions for future customer needs. According to ambidexterity and leadership literatures, transformational and transactional leadership styles, which constitute ambidextrous leadership behaviors, promote ambidexterity across multiple levels of the organization’s structure and become key elements for the successful implementation of organizational ambidexterity. This enactment of ambidexterity across levels constitutes ambidexterity penetration, a term first introduced in this study. In this context, this study attempts to address research gaps in the ambidextrous leadership research by linking the micro-level leadership styles with the macro-level corporate structure and environment by investigating: (a) how ambidexterity penetrates across multiple levels vertically and horizontally, (b) which tensions emerge from ambidexterity penetration and how they are managed, and finally (c) whether the type and size of the particular organizational setting is related to this ambidexterity penetration. To address these research questions, a dual case study research framework was used by analyzing data collected from: (a) a governmental organization with multiple business units dispersed throughout Europe, and (b) three aerospace and defense companies of different sizes with multiple business units in Europe and the United States. Data from 44 confidential, face-to-face and e-mail interviews, along with published archival information, was collected, compiled, and analyzed in the course of two years. The diversity of the studied business units in terms of type and size, and the compilation of data across multiple corporate levels (CEO to employee) provided a unique setting to uncover key findings that highlight the challenges and accomplishments of ambidextrous leadership in corporate and governmental organizational structures. The systematic, multi-level analysis of the collected data revealed variations in ambidexterity penetration across multiple levels of management in different types of organizations as a result of corporate culture and environmental constraints. However, in most cases, the analysis also uncovered: (a) similar characteristics of low horizontal, but high vertical penetration of ambidexterity, mainly due to their inflexible organizational structure, (b) prevailing transactional (exploitative) leadership style, as their leaders appear to act mostly as ambidextrous managers, (c) ambidexterity penetration across multiple levels via similar processes irrespective of type and size of each organization, and finally (d) the key role of middle management as a cohesive link within the firm’s structure that enables the ambidexterity penetration across management levels. In conclusion, this study contributes at the intersections of ambidexterity and leadership research in the context of the aerospace and defense sector and offers a timely empirical investigation of the competing challenges that these firms are called upon to face in the light of the emerging global security challenges and the subsequent vast investment in resources and capital.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.731392  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HD28 Management. Industrial Management
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