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Levers of Control and Employee Ambidexterity in Small Chinese Firms

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posted on 2022-11-04, 01:21 authored by Xintao LIXintao LI

This study examines the relationship between the Levers of Control (LoC) framework and employee ambidexterity in small Chinese enterprises. Data were collected from three small Chinese firms through 51 interviews during multiple in-depth case studies. Using the theory of planned behaviour, this research identifies the specific LoC that encourage employees to have four behaviours (collaboration, connection, multitasking, and entrepreneurial alertness) that lead to achieving employee ambidexterity (alignment and adaptability). Belief and the boundary systems play a crucial role in creating employee ambidexterity, while interactive control systems are more beneficial for adaptability. As seen from the employee's perspective, the diagnostic control systems have perceived impact on employee ambidexterity. The findings contribute to the development of LoC theory and practice, and also suggest that small firms need to find ways to motivate their employees’ capabilities to cope with the highly competitive marketplace. Future qualitative and quantitative research can explore how these the four systems interact in other contexts, as well as what other factors affect employee ambidexterity.


Table of Contents

1. Introduction -- 2. Literature Review and Research Framework -- 3. Research Design and Method -- 4. Findings -- 5. Discussion -- 6. Conclusion -- Appendix A: Interview Guide -- 7. References


A thesis submitted to Macquarie University in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Research and pathway to PhD

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


Thesis (MRes), Macquarie University, Macquarie Business School, 2021

Department, Centre or School

Department of Accounting and Corporate Governance

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Binh Bui

Additional Supervisor 1

Thanh Phan


Copyright: The Author Copyright disclaimer:




70 pages

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