The role of the family and the institutional context for ambidexterity in Latin American family firms
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Organizational ambidexterity —the ability to simultaneously engage in exploration and exploitation— is an important characteristic of firms that are interested in pursuing continuity. One of the prevalent goals of family firms is continuity. Thus, there is great interest in understanding ambidexterity and the factors that promote this behavior within family firms. Although there is some research that has explored this topic, there is a limited understanding regarding which family factors drive ambidexterity, how they influence it, and the role of the context in this process. We conducted a study with 21 Latin American family firms to better understand the family factors that play a role in the strategic orientation towards ambidexterity of family firms and the conditions under which these family factors matter. Our findings indicate that family maturity and family social responsibility are two family factors that drive the ambidextrous orientation of family firms when they help the family business develop dynamic capabilities. Additionally, the institutional context also influences how business families implement and use these capabilities to enhance their ambidextrous orientations. We discuss the implications of our findings for theory and future research.