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Article

Unpacking entrepreneurial intensity and individual ambidexterity in small project-based enterprises: A new perspective for the TV drama industry

Vicentini F., Peruffo E., Meissner D., Mueller J.

The purpose of this paper is to show that individual ambidexterity affects performance in small project-based enterprises. This is consistent with a recent and prominent stream of research that investigates the characteristics of workers as antecedents of ambidexterity behaviors and their effect on performance. We also analyze the role of entrepreneurial intensity as an important context issue that hampers this relationship. We test our hypotheses in the context of Italian television drama series productions, which are small project-based enterprises, by analyzing the careers of 1736 project entrepreneurs who had been working in the industry from 1996 to 2010. Our results suggest that for project entrepreneurs, high diversity in work experiences positively affects the project performance. Moreover, we demonstrate that the industry tenure of project entrepreneurs lessens the main relationship, by reducing the positive effect of entrepreneurial intensity and limiting benefits of ambidextrous behaviors. Our findings allow us to add insights to the entrepreneurship research and individual level ambidexterity theory. First, we contribute to this stream of research by analyzing how the diversity of work experiences at the individual level affects project performance. In doing so, we overcome the prior literature, which limited analysis only to the project portfolio level. Second, we develop a framework that investigates the argument regarding whether and under what circumstances does individual level ambidexterity improve project performance.