Folger, Nicholas, Prisca Brosi and Jutta Stumpf-Wollersheim


European Management Journal , (2021).

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Abstract: Today's turbulent environment, with fast and unpredictable technological changes, requires employees to increasingly act ambidextrously, i.e., to simultaneously incorporate exploitative and explorative tasks in their work roles. To improve our understanding of how to foster individual ambidexterity in technologically turbulent environments, we draw on organizational management theories by arguing (1) that perceived technological turbulence directly affects individual ambidexterity in a positive way and (2) that organizations can strengthen this effect by providing employees with internal stability in these times of external changes through high degrees of formalization. Using data collected in a three-wave online survey of 739 German employees, this study demonstrates that employees who perceive high degrees of technological turbulence in their organization's environment show high degrees of ambidexterity in their work. In addition, we show that formalization in the form of written rules, procedures, and instructions positively moderates this relationship so that employees' ambidexterity is highest when both perceptions of technological turbulence and formalization are high. We conclude by discussing the implications of these findings for the ambidexterity literature, for future research and managerial practice.

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