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

Usman, M., Ogbonnaya, C., Roodbari, H., Yusuf, R. and Hirekhan, M. (2023) Servant leadership as a catalyst for middle managers' learning ambidexterity: a resource-based perspective. British Journal of Management. ISSN 1467-8551

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1111/1467-8551.12761


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
Divisions:Henley Business School > International Business and Strategy
ID Code:113186


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