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Servant leadership as a catalyst for middle managers’ learning ambidexterity: A resource-based perspective

Usman, Muhammad, Ogbonnaya, Chidiebere, Roodbari, Hamid, Yusuf, Rebecca, Hirekhan, Manjusha (2023) Servant leadership as a catalyst for middle managers’ learning ambidexterity: A resource-based perspective. British Journal of Management, . ISSN 1045-3172. E-ISSN 1467-8551. (doi:10.1111/1467-8551.12761) (KAR id:102538)

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Although recent years have seen a proliferation of research on organizational ambidexterity, important questions remain about the role that leaders play in leveraging learning ambidexterity for organizational benefits. Drawing on conservation of resources theory, we investigate the indirect links between servant leadership and middle managers’ learning ambidexterity, with structural empowerment and role breadth self-efficacy (RBSE) as serial mediators. We also examine the importance of leader boundary-spanning behavior as a moderating factor for these relationships. Using time-lagged and multi-source data from 344 middle managers and their supervisors, we show that servant leadership has a positive indirect influence on two forms of learning ambidexterity: exploitative and explorative learning. In particular, servant leadership promotes structural empowerment (as a contextual resource), which in turn influences RBSE (as a personal resource) and encourages learning ambidexterity. In addition, we show that when leaders engage in boundary-spanning behavior, these indirect relationships become more prominent. This research offers new theoretical and practical insights to assist organizations in improving learning ambidexterity and achieving higher levels of performance.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1111/1467-8551.12761
Uncontrolled keywords: Management of Technology and Innovation, Strategy and Management, General Business, Management and Accounting
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Divisions: Divisions > Kent Business School - Division > Department of Leadership and Management
Funders: University of Kent (
Depositing User: Chidi Ogbonnaya
Date Deposited: 23 Aug 2023 21:00 UTC
Last Modified: 09 Jan 2024 13:41 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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