CEO-TMT interaction: Do tenure and age affect ambidexterity dynamism?

Anabel Fernández-Mesa, María Iborra and Vicente Safón
European Journal of International Management

The aim of this study is to clarify the influence of the CEO, the top management team and their interactions on the dynamism of organisational ambidexterity. We argue that ambidexterity is a dynamic capability that enables firms to become aligned with their environment. We examine this phenomenon in the context of the current economic crisis, with particular reference to SMEs. We propose tenure and age as characteristics of business elites that help to explain ambidexterity dynamism. In SMEs, the tenure and age of CEOs and interactions with top management team characteristics play a decisive role in the decision-making process, and therefore, in how the company adapts its orientation to ambidexterity. Through the study of 91 SMEs, we show that the characteristics of the CEO combined with the traits of the TMT are relevant for understanding ambidexterity dynamism.