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The Influence of Top Management Team on Chinese Firms’ FDI Ambidexterity

  • Yi Li (a1) and Lin Cui (a2)

Strategic ambidexterity has been under researched in the context of Chinese outward foreign direct investment (FDI). An ambidextrous FDI, balancing between exploratory and exploitive activities, is strategically desirable but managerially challenging. We examine the role of top management team (TMT) functional diversity in influencing Chinese firms’ degree of FDI ambidexterity, and its boundary conditions in relation to the informal and formal institutional environments within which the TMT operates. Based on a panel of Chinese outward-investing manufacturing firms, our empirical analyses show that a marginal positive effect of TMT functional diversity on a firm's FDI ambidexterity is strengthened by the social faultline presence in the firm's TMT, but is weakened by the development of formal institutions in the firm's external environment.

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Corresponding author: Yi Li (
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