Ambidextrous leadership and team innovation

Zacher, Hannes & Rosing, Kathrin (2015) Ambidextrous leadership and team innovation. Leadership and Organization Development Journal, 36(1), pp. 54-68.

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The purpose of this paper is to report the first empirical test of the recently proposed ambidexterity theory of leadership for innovation (Rosing et al., 2011). This theory proposes that the interaction between two complementary leadership behaviors – opening and closing – predicts team innovation, such that team innovation is highest when both opening and closing leadership behaviors are high.


Multi-source survey data came from 33 team leaders of architectural and interior design firms and 90 of their employees.


Results supported the interaction hypothesis, even after controlling for leaders’ transformational leadership behavior and general team success.

Research limitations/implications

The relatively small sample size and the cross-sectional design are potential limitations of the study. The findings provide initial support for the central hypothesis of the ambidexterity theory of leadership for innovation.

Practical implications

The results suggest that organizations could train team leaders’ ambidextrous leadership behaviors to increase team innovation.

Social implications

Identifying ways to facilitate organizational innovation is important, as it contributes to employment and company growth as well as individual and societal well-being.


This multi-source study contributes to the literatures on leadership and innovation in organizations by showing that ambidextrous leadership behaviors predict team innovation above and beyond transformational leadership behavior.

Impact and interest:

11 citations in Scopus
12 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 92344
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Transformational leadership, Innovation, Creativity, Ambidextrous leadership, Closing, Opening
DOI: 10.1108/LODJ-11-2012-0141
ISSN: 0143-7739
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300) > Organisational Behaviour (150311)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Deposited On: 29 Jan 2016 00:10
Last Modified: 26 Jun 2017 22:01

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