Ambidexterity in knowledge acquisition: a middle management exercise in firm administration

Jie Xiong, Peiran Su

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


We propose a conceptual framework to explain how middle managers conduct knowledge inflow management in order to facilitate organizational ambidexterity. The framework comprises two dimensions: knowledge acquisition orientation (which refers to knowledge acquisition being internal or external to a business unit) and knowledge acquisition activities (which include the use of structural and contextual mechanisms to receive knowledge inflows). We interviewed 64 informants to obtain data on three foreign hypermarket retailers in China. Our findings suggest that middle managers manage vertical knowledge inflows (top-down and bottom-up) and horizontal knowledge flows by utilizing individual components of structural and contextual mechanisms. These two types of mechanisms facilitate middle managers’ ability to achieve ambidexterity at the business-unit level, which facilitates organizational ambidexterity.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes
Event27th Annual British Academy of Management Conference: Managing to Make a Difference - Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool, United Kingdom
Duration: 10 Sep 201312 Sep 2013


Conference27th Annual British Academy of Management Conference
Abbreviated titleBAM 2013
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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