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Title: Essays on ambidextrous leadership in small and medium sized firms
Author: Oluwafemi, Tolulope
ISNI:       0000 0004 7432 2491
Awarding Body: Bangor University
Current Institution: Bangor University
Date of Award: 2018
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As the growing body of literature draws on various theoretical perspectives of ambidexterity - an organization’s ability to balance both exploration and exploitation activities - an important stream has emerged that focuses on the role of leaders in the development of ambidexterity. This thesis is seeking to advance knowledge on how SME leaders engage in ambidextrous leadership to respond to the complexities of innovation and improve employee’s innovative behaviors as well as overall business performance. Using survey generated data from 98 SMEs, the first paper reveals that opening and closing leadership behaviors predicted employee explorative and exploitative innovation behaviors respectively above all control variables. The combination of both leadership behaviors also predicted employee ambidexterity. A significant revelation was that the effect of ambidextrous leadership behaviors on employee innovation behaviors is mediated by adaptive/flexible leadership behavior. The second paper investigates the association of potentially relevant antecedents: personality traits, emotional intelligence, adaptive/flexible leadership, transformational leadership and transactional leadership to ambidextrous leadership behaviors (including opening leadership behaviors and closing leadership behaviors). With the exception of personality traits which showed no relationship to ambidextrous leadership, the other independent variables showed varying relationships to ambidextrous leadership. Using a qualitative methodology (interviews), the third paper explores ambidextrous leadership behaviors in female entrepreneurs in relation to gender-role identity. Our findings from semi-structured interviews with 14 female entrepreneurs in Wales reveal that female leaders in our study are mostly androgynous and ambidextrous. Our results demonstrate that female entrepreneurs have little or no consideration for gender stereotypes in performing their leadership duties. Rather, greater focus is placed on demonstrating their competence using traits and leadership behaviors that drive goal accomplishment including the integration of stereotypic masculine and feminine leadership behaviors as considered necessary. Additionally, we observe that the choice of leadership behavior/trait that is emphasized at any point in time is contingent on contextual or situational demands of work as well as individual competencies of the entrepreneur. Overall, this thesis highlights theoretical and practical implications for ambidextrous leadership. Further, it provides steps towards effective understanding of ambidextrous leadership development and practical applications. This thesis indicates that ambidextrous leadership is important for SMEs seeking to enhance employee innovative work behaviors.
Supervisor: Nikolopoulos, Konstantinos ; Mitchelmore, Siwan Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: ambidextrous leadership ; personality traits ; emotional intelligence