What Changes Designer-Entrepreneurs into Successful Business Leaders: Exploring the Role of Ambidextrous Leadership

Group Affiliation: 
- Private group -

Identified indicators of exploration versus exploitation (March, 1991) using Content analysis using NVivo software with 100 fashion designer-entrepreneurs [64 male, 36 female; see Fashion Designers slide for list] to explore individual ambidexterity through secondary data in published interviews [Sources: 53 Women's Wear Daily 2004 - 2014; 24 Footwear News 2001 - 2016; see Journals slide in presentation for remaining magazines]. Themes of dynamic relationships and ambidextrous leadership were identified. Presentation is foundation for journal article in progress.

Society for the Advancement of Management
Lee Nordgren
Sherille Samson
Presentation Date: 
Friday, March 31, 2017
Event or Conference: 
Society for Advancement of Management 2017 International Business Conference “Advancing Management: Leadership and Change”
Presentation Type: 
Paper Presentation
Boyer's Domain: 
Presentation Attachment(s): 
Presentation Location: 
Rosen Plaza Hotel
9700 International Drive
Orlando, FL 32819
United States
IRB project 1014797-1 project has an expiration date of January 26, 2020. The paper needed to be revised based on conference discussant feedback and for submission to journal's peer review - SAM Advanced Management Journal. May 2017 deadline missed due to multiple faculty health issues and student's QRM/IRB processes. SAM and SAM AMJ leader and editor retired at end of conference. Not clear from their website whether this remains the best journal option for paper because not even the 2017 conference program link was updated. We are currently completing revisions and evaluating where to submit the journal article, SAM AMJ or better. Please see in my Current Research section for ongoing IRB project 1014797-1 with expiration date of January 26, 2020. We intended to submit for SAS Research Presentation Award but accidentally omitted University of Phoenix from presentation slides.
Ambidextrous organizations create breakthroughs and efficiently sustain core operations by compartmentalizing the two, leaving strategic balancing to corporate-level executives (Tushman & O’Reilly, 1996). Contradictions between exploration and exploitation (March, 1991), easily reconciled by separation in the ambidextrous corporation, cannot be resolved at the individual level by dividing the businessperson. Two decades of research illuminate organizational ambidexterity; yet, study of individual ambidexterity remains scant in leadership and entrepreneurship (Volery, Mueller, & von Siemens, 2015). As change permeates business, interest grows in adding the exploratory traits of designers to time-tested analyses of business exploitation, yielding ambidextrous leadership. Paradoxically, few publications explore design leadership or its fit with ambidextrous leadership (Miller & Moultrie, 2013). This paper addresses the research gap in ambidextrous and design leadership from a business perspective. Fashion designers start brands as creative entrepreneurs (exploration). As startups grow, designer-entrepreneurs must become savvy business leaders (exploitation). Could ambidextrous leadership separate winners from losers in this volatile, competitive industry? This exploratory study uses content analysis of 100 published interviews of fashion designers to identify the role of ambidextrous leadership in changing designer-entrepreneurs into successful fashion business leaders. The findings support the need for future research into the relationship between ambidextrous leadership and the success of creative entrepreneurs as business leaders.