Individual Ambidexterity, Motivating Language, and Employee Outcomes: a Cross-Country Analysis
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Organizational ambidexterity has been recognized as a critical antecedent of firm success. Recently, scholars have started to contend that ambidexterity is not only essential at the firm, but also at the individual level. Thus, individuals must engage in exploitative and explorative behaviors to be successful. However, theoretical and empirical focus of individual ambidexterity remains limited and fragmented. This dissertation seeks to gain a better understanding of individual ambidexterity by integrating insights from motivating language theory and the literature on contextual ambidexterity to develop a hypothetical model linking motivating language, individual ambidexterity, and several employee outcomes including absenteeism, turnover intention, job satisfaction, and job performance. Direct relationships are hypothesized for both motivating language and individual ambidexterity and the selected employee outcomes, as well as job satisfaction’s relationships with absenteeism, turnover intention, and job performance. Data to test the hypothetical model is collected from 614 employees across three national settings: India, the U.S., and Vietnam. Results indicate a positive relationship between motivating language and individual ambidexterity for the three samples. Subsequent analyses also suggest a negative relationship between individual ambidexterity and both absenteeism and turnover intention for the three countries. However, the relationship between individual ambidexterity and turnover intention is not significant for the Vietnamese sample. In addition, a positive relationship is found between individual ambidexterity and both job satisfaction and performance across the samples. The results for all three samples also indicate a negative relationship between motivating language and both absenteeism and turnover intention, as well as a positive relationship between motivating language and both job satisfaction and performance. Further tests reveal that job satisfaction’s negative impact on absenteeism, turnover intention, and positive impact on job performance are consistent across the samples. Finally, model comparisons suggest that the results for India and Vietnam are generally consistent, whereas significant differences are found for various relationships in the model for the U.S. versus India and the U.S. versus Vietnam. The implications for research and practice, as well as suggestions for future research are also discussed.