Different ways lead to ambidexterity: Configurations for team innovation across China, India, and Singapore

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In this paper, we transfer the ambidexterity theory of leadership for innovation to a cross-cultural context. We develop a configurational model to explore how combinations of opening leadership, closing leadership, and team initiative differently affect team innovation performance in different cultures. Applying an Asia-centric perspective, our study analyzes cross-cultural heterogeneity of team innovation processes across China, India, and Singapore. Our fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA) illuminates cultural differences and the configurational nature of how leadership and team behaviors work together in promoting team innovation performance. We found that configurations for team innovation performance differ across countries, such that an innovation-yielding configuration in one country may be ineffective in another country. Moreover, our findings suggest that alternative, equifinal configurations of leadership and team initiative, rather than just one optimal pathway, are associated with high team innovation performance; and high-performance configurations and low-performance configurations are asymmetric and therefore imply non-linearity of the relationships. The findings provide implications for managers in different cultural contexts as they help identify culture-specific action repertoires to manage innovation processes and promote innovation performance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101027
JournalJournal of International Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 01.06.2023

Bibliographical note

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    Research areas

  • Ambidextrous leadership, Configuration, Cross-cultural context, Innovation, Team initiative
  • Management studies