The influence of ambidextrous leadership on the employee innovative behavior: an empirical study based on Chinese manufacturing enterprises

Yuguo Jiang, Dennis Asante, Jie Zhang, Enock Mintah Ampaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Employees are the core asset of every company. Employees’ innovative behavior (EIB) helps to improve the performance of enterprises. High-quality leadership is one of the key factors to promote employee innovation. As companies pay more attention to innovation, the attention to EIB continues to increase. In the process of employee innovation, the leadership style of the company’s senior managers plays an important role. This is mostly so in ambidextrous leadership (AL) enveronment where paradox and contradictory thinking needs to be explored on EIB. Based on the theories of innovation and leadership, this paper explored the impact of AL on EIB and its mechanisms. We analyzed data on 478 staff working in industrial enterprises in China.The empirical results revealed a positive correlation between AL and EIB and the role of creative self-efficacy (CS) and cognitive flexibility (CF). The analysis of the mediating effect of multi-level regulation shows that: firstly, CS acts as an intermediary between AL and employee’s incremental innovation (EII) and employee’s radical innovation (ERI); secondly, CF positively adjusts the relationship between AL an d CS. Lastly, AL indirectly affects EII and ERI through CS, and this positive indirect relationship is more pronounced when CF is higher. The observations of the study provide a new perspective for leaders to break the traditional single behavior path and adopt dynamic complementary AL behavior to improve the level of employee innovation. Again, these insightful revelations have important practical significance for enterprise innovation management to adopt the appropriate remedial measures that will strengthen and deepen employee’s innovative behavior for optimal gains. This study helps to deepen the understanding of the influence mechanism of EIB, improves innovation efficiency literature and promotes the healthy development of enterprises.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9452-9465
Number of pages14
JournalCurrent Psychology
Issue number11
Early online date28 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Ambidextrous leadership
  • Cognitive flexibility
  • Creative self-efficacy
  • Employee incremental innovation
  • Employee innovative behavior
  • Employee radical innovation


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