PurposeAlthough prior studies have found that transactive memory system (TMS) in top management team (TMT) can enable innovation ambidexterity, works that focus on only the direct role of TMS and neglect the question of how the differentiated knowledge of the TMS are integrated. The purpose of this paper is to further elucidate how a TMS promotes ambidexterity and examine both its mechanism process and the conditions influencing the process.Design/methodology/approachThis study is based on a questionnaire survey of 94 high-tech enterprises in China.FindingsThe findings show that the positive relationship between TMS usage and innovation ambidexterity is mediated by TMT shared leadership, which refers to collective decision-making behaviors and can integrate the heterogeneous knowledge of the TMS into coherent strategic forms. The authors also found that having a TMS was more positively related to innovation ambidexterity via shared leadership when top managers have high team learning goal orientation or high team performance approach goal orientation.Originality/valueThis research contributes to the literature on the antecedents of innovation ambidexterity by showing the effects of TMS and TMT shared leadership, responding to the call to explore how TMT cognitive structures interact with behavioral processes to shape ambidexterity. This study also contributes to TMS research by taking team goal orientations into consideration, which promotes understanding of the effectiveness of TMS in an achievement context. In addition, the authors bring distributed cognition to the fore as a novel fuel for understanding how shared leadership forms.
Chinese Management Studies – Emerald Publishing
Published: Apr 3, 2018
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