THUNDERBIRD INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS REVIEW
CALL-FOR-PAPERS - SPECIAL ISSUE
Ambidextrous Organizations in and from Emerging Markets
AIMS AND SCOPE
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
OVERVIEW AND PURPOSE OF SPECIAL ISSUE:
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.