Pursuit of individual ambidexterity by middle managers and their psychological well-being

Moccia, Andrea Sara (2022) Pursuit of individual ambidexterity by middle managers and their psychological well-being. PhD thesis, University of Gloucestershire. doi:10.46289/L4H6J8S8

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Companies increasingly demand ambidexterity from their employees, the ability to flexibly switch between exploitation (use and refine existing competencies) and exploration (explore new opportunities and create new knowledge) (Holmqvist & Spicer, 2012). From a job design perspective, ambidexterity is seen as a valuable form of job enrichment that can increase employee creativity, innovation and motivation (T. J. M. Mom et al., 2018; Parker, 2014). However, studies have also indicated that the demand for ambidexterity may lead to frustration, anger and stress among employees (Karhu, 2017; T. Keller & Weibler, 2015; Laureiro-Martínez, Brusoni, & Zollo, 2010). Despite these warnings, the possible negative impact on employee well-being has received little attention in the literature (Agnihotri et al., 2017; Caniëls & Veld, 2016; Tempelaar & Rosenkranz, 2017). This thesis addresses this research gap. Taking into account the moderating effect of the Big Five personality traits as well as the team climate, the influence of the demand for ambidexterity on on middle managers' well-being is investigated. The impact of the demand for ambidexterity on well-being was investigated using the data from an anonymous online survey of administrative middle managers from different divisions and professions of Swiss Post. The analysis of data from the 1,657 participants suggests that the demand for ambidexterity does not generally pose a particular threat to middle managers' well-being. However, the results also suggest that the demand for ambidexterity does not have a positive impact on psychological well-being. It was also found that personality, in contrast to team climate, has a significant moderating effect. Concretely, it was found that extraversion positively influences the impact of the demand for ambidexterity on middle managers' well-being, while the personality traits conscientiousness and neuroticism have a negative influence. This research provides a significant contribution by closing a long-known research gap. The findings on the role of personality traits further contribute to the advancement of the individual ambidexterity theory. The research provides equally valuable insights for practice. Employers have been in the dark about the effect of the demand for ambidexterity among their middle managers. The findings from this research inform employers that by introducing ambidextrous jobs, they are not generally putting their middle managers at significant risk, nor are they promoting their well-being. Furthermore, the finding of this research that the two personality traits conscientiousness and neuroticism tend to have a negative impact on psychological well-being when ambidexterity is demanded, and extraversion does the opposite is of great importance for employers. Since psychological assessments based on the five-factor model of personality are a common tool in the recruitment process, employers are now able to systematically select middle managers for ambidextrous jobs.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Advisors:
Thesis AdvisorEmailURL
Dawson, Davidddawson@glos.ac.ukhttps://www.glos.ac.uk/staff/profile/david-dawson/
Darwish, Tamertdarwish@glos.ac.ukhttps://www.glos.ac.uk/staff/profile/tamer-darwish/
Uncontrolled Keywords: Ambidexterity; Well-being; Job design; Job enrichment; Middle-management; Personality traits; Swiss Post
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management > HD58 Organizational behavior, change and effectiveness. Corporate culture
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5001 Business > HF5549 Personnel management. Employment management
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > Gloucestershire Business School
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 09 May 2023 13:50
Last Modified: 09 May 2023 13:50
URI: https://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/12711

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