Ambidextrous Organizations in and from Emerging Markets

Guest Co-Editors:




The aim of this special issue is to bring together scholars from various disciplines in business

and management studies, in order to extend existing theoretical frameworks on organizational

ambidexterity and encourage new research in under-researched Emerging Market (EM) contexts. We 

welcome both qualitative and quantitative studies, along with state of art conceptual (literature review) 

papers. Due to the relative uniqueness and newness of the topic, case studies (single in-depth cases or

comparative cases) are particularly welcome. We invite research focusing on, but not limited to,

the following topics:

• Organizational ambidexterity and the role of national culture in and from EM context

• Leadership styles, and organizational ambidexterity in and from EM context

• Organizational culture and ambidexterity in and from EM context

• HRM strategies in ambidextrous organizations in and from EM context

• Conceptualization of organizational ambidexterity and influences of national culture in and

from EM context

• Functional ambidexterity (e.g. innovation ambidexterity, production ambidexterity) and its

influences on firm performance in and from EM context

• Organizational ambidexterity and internationalization strategies of firms in and from EM

• Equity vs. non-equity market entry modes, leadership and role of organizational

ambidexterity in and from EM (both MNEs and SMEs)

• Longitudinal case studies on how organizational ambidexterity is achieved in different

EMs and influences of leadership, culture and HRM on the process

• Grounded theory-based research to enhance theoretical frameworks on organizational

ambidexterity for EM context

• Global value chains and role of organizational ambidexterity of firms in and from EM




Emerging markets (EMs) are increasingly playing an important role in a globalized

economy. The increased importance of emerging market multinationals (EMNCs) is evident in

recent academic discourse.

The extant literature on organizational ambidexterity portrays a variety of sectors

(traditional, high-tech) and methodological settings, and the empirical findings to date are

mixed (e.g. Junni et al., 2013; Junni et al., 2015). Through our call for papers we thus attempt to

fill a specific gap in this context. More specifically, we aim to solicit studies exploring the

aspects of internationalization by ambidextrous organizations in and from emerging markets.

Empirical research shows that some EMNCs are ambidextrous organizations, able to

simultaneously pursue two disparate, and, at times, seemingly contradictory strategies (Luo

and Rui, 2009).

Organizational ambidexterity is an emerging field of research which has significant

implications on the evolving leadership and HRM literature (Stokes et al., 2017; 2018). A review

of the extant literature reveals that organizational ambidexterity has been studied primarily in the

context of firms operating within the developed market (DM) context (O’Reilly and Tushman,


In this vein, utilizing ten in-depth case studies of European firms’ corporate

innovation initiatives, Zimmermann, Raisch, and Cardinal (2018) explored how frontline

managers shape their organizational contexts to reconcile exploration/exploitation tensions.

They found that frontline managers play a more central, proactive, and strategic role with

respect to organizational ambidexterity through configurational practices than assumed by

senior executives’ initial design choices.

Another study by Jansen et al. (2016) examined - via a socio-psychological

perspective - the contingency role of supportive leadership behaviors on the emergence of

team ambidexterity, and concluded that supportive behaviors of senior executives may not be

always beneficial but rather a double-edged sword for team-level psychological attributes.

Examples of organizational ambidexterity studies can also be found in the

International Business (IB) realm with more inclination toward culturally-diverse and

internationalization-focused contexts. For example, employing case studies to examine

ambidexterity as a dynamic capability in the globalization of Swedish firms, Vahlne and Jonsson

(2017) indicated that the dynamic capability of ambidexterity adds to the explanatory power of

the Uppsala globalization process model.

Given the current state of the literature on organizational ambidexterity, there is a

gap in the understanding of what constitutes organizational ambidexterity in EMNCs.

Exceptions are studies undertaken by Luo and Hui (2009), Winterhalter et al. (2016), Rao-

Nicholson et al. (2016), Malik et al. (2017), Stokes et al. (2017), Chen et al. (2018) and Yu et al.

(2018). However, these studies are exploratory in nature and it would be helpful to

complement the existing findings with in-depth and specific studies on dynamics, development

and management of organizational ambidexterity in the EM context. It is further important to

mention that EMs are not a homogenous group of countries, and there are significant

variations across EMs (Karolyi, 2015). Moreover, the role of leadership and HRM in the context

of culture and internationalization has been argued to be important determinants of

organizational ambidexterity (Malik et al, 2017, Pereira and Malik, 2018; Budhwar et al., 2020).

However, these determinants have been rarely investigated within an EM context. Some

studies which have addressed the role of ambidexterity in the EM context are mostly focusing

on internationalization or merger and acquisition topics (e.g. Rao-Nicholson et al., 2016; Chebbi

et al., 2017). In addition, so far, extant research on ambidextrous organizations has focused

primarily on more well-known EMs, in particular, China and India. Keeping in view this gap in

the extant literature, there is a need to enhance our understanding of the dynamics of

ambidextrous organizations in EMs by empirically focusing on the under-researched ‘culture

and internationalization’ context of other EM countries in Africa, Latin America, transitional

periphery of EU and less researched Asian countries (e.g. Hsu, Lien and Chen, 2013; Martin,

Javalgi and Cavusgil, 2017; Pereira, et al, 2018).



Budhwar, P., Pereira, V., and Temouri, Y. (2020). Investigating challenges faced by EMNCs and

MNCs in the MENA region. International Studies of Management & Organization.


Chebbi, H., Yahiaoui, D., Vrontis, D., & Thrassou, A. (2017). The impact of ambidextrous

leadership on the internationalization of emerging‐market firms: The case of India.

Thunderbird International Business Review, 59(3), 421-436.

Chen, M., Yang, Z., Dou, W., & Wang, F. (2018). Flying or dying? Organizational change,

customer participation, and innovation ambidexterity in emerging economies. Asia

Pacific Journal of Management, 35(1), 97-119.

Hsu, C. W., Lien, Y. C., & Chen, H. (2013). International ambidexterity and firm performance in

small emerging economies. Journal of World Business, 48(1), 58-67.

Jansen, J. J., Kostopoulos, K. C., Mihalache, O. R., & Papalexandris, A. (2016). A socio‐

psychological perspective on team ambidexterity: The contingency role of

supportive leadership behaviours. Journal of Management Studies, 53(6), 939-965.

Junni, P., Sarala, R.M., Taras, V., & Tarba, S.Y. (2013). Organizational ambidexterity and

performance: A meta-analysis. The Academy of Management Perspectives, 27(4),


Junni, P., Sarala, R. M., Tarba, S., Liu, Y., & Cooper, C. (2015). The role of human resource and

organizational factors in ambidexterity. Human Resource Management, 54(S1), S1-


Karolyi, G. A. (2015). Cracking the emerging markets enigma. Oxford University Press.

Luo, Y., & Rui, H. (2009). An ambidexterity perspective toward multinational enterprises from

emerging economies. Academy of Management Perspectives, 23(4), 49-70.

Malik, A., Pereira, V., & Tarba, S. (2017). The role of HRM practices in product development:

Contextual ambidexterity in a US MNC’s subsidiary in India. The International

Journal of Human Resource Management, 1-29.

Malik, A., Sinha, P., Pereira V., and Rowley, C. (2017). Implementing global-local strategies in

the offshore outsourcing industry: Creating an ambidextrous context through

strategic choice and HRM. Journal of Business Research.

Martin, S. L., Javalgi, R. G., & Cavusgil, E. (2017). Marketing capabilities, positional advantage,

and performance of born global firms: Contingent effect of ambidextrous

innovation. International Business Review, 26(3), 527-543.

O'Reilly III, C. A., & Tushman, M. L. (2013). Organizational ambidexterity: Past, present, and

future. Academy of Management Perspectives, 27(4), 324-338.

Pereira, V., Mellahi, K., Temouri, Y., Patnaik, S., and Roohanifar, M (2018). Investigating

dynamic capabilities, agility and knowledge management within EMNEs -

Longitudinal evidence from Europe. Journal of Knowledge Management.

Rao-Nicholson, R., Khan, Z., Akhtar, P., & Merchant, H. (2016). The impact of leadership on

organizational ambidexterity and employee psychological safety in the global

acquisitions of emerging market multinationals. The International Journal of

Human Resource Management, 27(20), 2461-2487.

Stokes, P., Moore, N., Smith, S. M., Larson, M. J., & Brindley, C. (2017). Organizational

ambidexterity and the emerging‐to‐advanced economy nexus: Cases from private

higher education operators in the United Kingdom. Thunderbird International

Business Review, 59(3), 333-348.

Stokes, P., Smith, S., Wall, T., Moore, N., Rowland, C., Ward, T., & Cronshaw, S. (2018).

Resilience and the (micro-) dynamics of organizational ambidexterity: implications

for strategic HRM. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 1-


Vahlne, J. E., & Jonsson, A. (2017). Ambidexterity as a dynamic capability in the globalization

of the multinational business enterprise (MBE): Case studies of AB Volvo and

IKEA. International Business Review, 26(1), 57-70.

Winterhalter, S., Zeschky, M. B., & Gassmann, O. (2016). Managing dual business models in

emerging markets: an ambidexterity perspective. R&D Management, 46(3), 464-


Yu, X., Meng, X., Chen, Y., Chen, Y., & Nguyen, B. (2018). Work-family conflict,

organizational ambidexterity and new venture legitimacy in emerging economies.

Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 135, 229-240.

Zimmermann, A., Raisch, S., & Cardinal, L. B. (2018). Managing persistent tensions on the

frontline: A configurational perspective on ambidexterity. Journal of Management

Studies, 55(5), 739-769.

Best wishes,

Dr Yama Temouri,
Economics and Strategy Group,
Aston Business School,
Aston University,
B4 7ET
tel. +44 (0) 121 204 3244

fax. +44 (0) 121 204 3306

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