This study investigates the role of relational identification in the relation between joint actions and small-firm ambidexterity in asymmetric alliances. Using survey data on Chinese high-technology firms, we find that joint problem-solving and joint sensemaking are both positively associated with small firm's relational identification. We also find a positive relationship between small firm's relational identification and knowledge exploration and exploitation. More importantly, we show that relational identification mediates the relationships between joint actions (i.e., joint problem-solving and joint sensemaking) and small-firm ambidexterity, except for the relationship between joint sensemaking and small-firm knowledge exploitation. This study advances our understanding of the association between joint actions and ambidexterity by providing a social identification explanation.
Feng, Y., Teng, D., & Hao, B. (2019). Joint actions with large partners and small-firm ambidexterity in asymmetric alliances: the mediating role of relational identification. International Small Business Journal, 37(7), 689-712. https://doi.org/10.1177/0266242619842592