Ambidextrous Knowledge Sharing within R&D Teams and Multinational Enterprise Performance: The Moderating Effects of Cultural Distance in Uncertainty Avoidance

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Vasyl Taras, Associate Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:

Abstract: Current debates on organizational learning distinguish between two distinct and mutually exclusive learning modes: exploration and exploitation. This paper deals with the concept of ambidextrous routines in knowledge management (KM) initiatives. Specifically, drawing on a sample of 1468 MNEs from 24 regions in China, we find that a synergetic combination of explorative and exploitative virtual knowledge is positively associated with MNE performance. In contrast, an imbalance between explorative and exploitative virtual knowledge hurts MNE performance. Furthermore, the effect of imbalanced ambidexterity in virtual knowledge sharing is moderated by the cultural distance in the uncertainty avoidance between the R&D team and the region where the team operates. This paper elaborates on the characteristics of ambidextrous KM initiatives at the micro-level; firms use ambidextrous KM practices to create a learning context, defined by guidelines and methods rather than by a definite purpose. The clear separation of KM initiatives’ purpose and their embedded learning routines and methods enables them to be used ambidextrously. Furthermore, this analysis indicates that ambidextrous KM initiatives follow a path characterized by an increasing variety of purposes but a decreasing variety of underlying structures. Consequently, firms create a learning context that can be activated when necessary in ways required in an exploratory and/or in an exploitative mode.

Additional Information

Management International Review, 60(3), 387-425.
Language: English
Date: 2020
international R&D teams, ambidextrous virtual knowledge sharing within R&D teams, Uncertainty avoidance, Organization–environment cultural fit, international human resource management

Email this document to