Middle management and ambidexterity in knowledge flows

Jie Xiong, Peiran Su, Carole Bonanni

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
Number of pages48
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventAssociation Internationale de Management Strategique Annual Conference - , United Kingdom
Duration: 1 Jun 2014 → …


ConferenceAssociation Internationale de Management Strategique Annual Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Period1/06/14 → …


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