Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Management

Program Name/Specialization

Marketing

Faculty/School

School of Business and Economics

First Advisor

Nicole Coviello

Advisor Role

Provided oversight for all aspects of my research and focused on helping me refine my ideas and writing

Second Advisor

Chatura Ranaweera

Advisor Role

Provided guidance for data collection and analysis

Third Advisor

Sofy Carayannopoulos

Advisor Role

Provided theoretical guidance, particularly for Essay 2

Abstract

A critical decision for any firm involves allocating investment to different types of marketing activities. One argument is that firms should invest resources in both explorative and exploitative activities to develop ambidexterity. Considering the extensive theoretical and practical implications of ambidexterity, several research gaps exist in this area provide opportunities for both theoretical and practical contributions. In this dissertation, I identify and explore three important research opportunities.

First, based on one argument regarding ambidexterity, firms should pursue exploration and exploitation in a balanced manner. This is even though there is little evidence confirming that being ‘out of balance’ actually hurts performance. Recent research also suggests that the sum of exploration and exploitation might be more important than balance for performance advantage although evidence is inconclusive. The second research opportunity pertains specifically to the concept of ‘imbalance’. That is, if an imbalance in exploration relative to exploitation (or vice versa) has adverse effects, we have little knowledge as to how it can be mitigated. In other words, we know little about the organizational and environmental factors that might increase or reduce any imbalance between exploration and exploitation. Third, recent findings suggest that some firms could be less ambidextrous than others because they lack investment in exploration. To the best of my knowledge however, there is little understanding of the factors that lead firms to have more or less exploration than others.

My dissertation addresses the above research opportunities by studying ambidexterity in the context of two important marketing capabilities: customer management (CM) and new product development (NPD).

In Essay 1, I address the first research opportunity by studying how performance is affected by: 1) the sum of exploration and exploitation (annotated as SumE+E in this dissertation) for the firm’s CM capability; 2) the SumE+E for NPD capability; and 3) the imbalance between exploration and exploitation within each capability. My findings from a cross-industry sample of U.S. manufacturers show that a higher SumE+E for CM and also NPD improves customer relationship performance and new product performance, respectively. I also show that although an imbalance within CM capability has no impact on customer relationship performance, new product performance suffers if NPD is unbalanced towards exploration. The strong and consistent performance effects of the SumE+E for both capabilities- relative to effects of imbalance within them- provide support for the argument that SumE+E is more important for performance advantage.

I also address the second research opportunity in Essay 1. I do so by arguing that a firm’s entrepreneurial orientation (EO) – combined with environmental dynamism – affects imbalance within CM and NPD capabilities. My findings show that although the SumE+E for both CM and NPD capabilities is positively impacted by a higher EO, the imbalances within these capabilities are differentially affected by EO under different environmental conditions.

The findings of Essay 1 inform marketing strategy by providing managers with an understanding of how the SumE+E for marketing capabilities and imbalance within them can influence marketing performance outcomes. In addition, by performing a moderated mediation framework, I show that high EO in stable environments can lead to negative performance results through an imbalance towards exploration within NPD. This offers new empirical evidence on the relationships between environmental factors, organizational characteristics, capabilities and performance outcomes.

In Essay 2, I draw on institutional theory and upper echelons theory to conceptualize and examine how product exploration and performance are influenced by institutional pressures and the composition of the top management team (TMT). This addresses the third research opportunity identified above. My findings show that when mimetic and coercive pressures on the firm are inconsistent (i.e. there is high institutional complexity), firms with a more heterogeneous TMT have higher levels of product exploration and in turn, performance. The results of Essay 2 offer new insights on the relationships between institutional factors, TMT composition, NPD capability and performance. They also help explain past contradictions regarding the effects of both institutional pressures and TMT heterogeneity on firm performance.

Convocation Year

2017

Convocation Season

Spring

Available for download on Wednesday, April 24, 2019

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