Research suggests that unit-level ambidexterity positively impacts subsequent unit performance but theory and testing on this impact remain impoverished. We develop a cross-level model suggesting that structural and resource attributes of the organizational context significantly shape the relationship between unit ambidexterity and performance. Using multisource and lagged data from 285 organizational units located within 88 autonomous branches, results from hierarchical linear modeling show that this relationship is boosted when the organization is decentralized, more resource munificent, or less resource interdependent. We also find that structural differentiation of the organization does not condition the unit ambidexterity-performance relationship. Through this cross-level theory and testing, we develop a richer explanation of the effectiveness of ambidextrous units operating in multiunit contexts.

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Keywords ambidexterity, cross-level, resource attributes, structural attributes, unit performance
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Series ERIM Top-Core Articles
Journal Strategic Management Journal
Jansen, J.J.P, Simsek, Z, & Cao, Q. (2012). Ambidexterity and performance in multiunit contexts: Cross-level moderating effects of structural and resource attributes. Strategic Management Journal, 33(11), 1286–1303. doi:10.1002/smj.1977