The role of HRM practices in product development: Contextual ambidexterity in a US MNC’s subsidiary in India

Ashish Malik*, Vijay Pereira, Shlomo Tarba

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Recent studies have started exploring the linkages between organisational ambidexterity (OA) and HRM practices. OA is noted as a critical resource in achieving product, process, and business model innovations. By adopting an inductive case study of a US MNC subsidiary in India, we found empowerment-focused HRM practices were being used for exploration of new ideas and efficiency-focused HRM practices were adopted for the exploitation of the organisation’s existing strengths. Empowerment-focused HRM practices created a culture of openness and risk-taking, which facilitated the creation of an ambidextrous context. Further, ambidextrous learning was moderated by the adoption of a managerial/leadership style that focused on ‘mirroring competencies’ between the parent operation and its subsidiary. HRM practices were aimed at developing behaviours that valued the team-based co-development of graphic processor designs by means of a ‘parallel processing’ approach to product development. Additionally, the HRM practice of offering intrinsic employee rewards and both informal and formal training facilitated OA in delivering product innovation. This study represents a pioneering exploration of multiple levels of analysis (individual, functional, and organisational) for product innovation through the lenses of ambidexterity, innovation, and HRM practices. The implications for both theory and practice are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)536-564
Number of pages29
JournalInternational Journal of Human Resource Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 21 Feb 2019


  • Ambidexterity
  • emerging markets
  • high-technology firms
  • HRM practices
  • MNC subsidiary

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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