Behind ambidextrous search:The microfoundations of search in family and non-family firms

Mazzelli, Ambra and De Massis, Alfredo and Messeni Petruzzelli, Antonio and Del Giudice, M and Kahn, Z (2020) Behind ambidextrous search:The microfoundations of search in family and non-family firms. Long Range Planning, 53 (6). ISSN 0024-6301

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We offer a microfoundational perspective to challenge the consensual view of ambidextrous search as a superior approach to addressing performance problems. We characterize the nature of search as both ostensive and agentic, and suggest that search performance is idiosyncratic across individuals and highly dependent on decision makers' cognitive frameworks and social contexts. To test our theory, we develop a mathematical simulation model that formalizes the mechanisms regulating the search behaviors of senior leaders in both family and non-family firms. Our results suggest that a search approach that is conducive to superior performance in non-family firms may yield inferior performance in family firms depending on the senior leader's family membership and her/his positional history in the firm (i.e., non-family, founder, later-generation). Moreover, we reveal that while ambidexterity constitutes a superior search approach for family firms with founder CEOs, those with non-family or later-generation CEOs would seem to benefit from specialization.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Long Range Planning
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This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Long Range Planning. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Long Range Planning, 53, 6, 2019 DOI: 10.1016/j.lrp.2019.05.002
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22 Jul 2019 13:05
Last Modified:
29 Sep 2023 01:37