Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Mary Collins


Implementation was an overlooked aspect, with a paucity of research until the 1990s. Although scholarly and practical research grew, the preponderance focused on large established organizations. Only more recently have small and medium enterprises (SMEs) received attention. Yet, economic vitality depends on SME success. The study investigated innovation implementation in SMEs. Focus was on ambidextrous leaderships, senior leaders’ efforts to advance their organizations by ensuring capabilities for both current and future innovations. The study identified how senior leaders’ individual orientations motivated innovation and its implementation. Using a concurrent embedded mixed method design (Creswell, 2009), quantitative data was collected using a proven instrument (ISPI™) to inform qualitative one-on-one interviews. A simplified, modified Delphi approach with area experts aided in purposeful company selection. Research explored perspectives of two senior leaders in each of seven companies, headquartered in the Rochester, NY and Charlotte, NC areas. Follow-up calls for clarification and interview summaries for member checking provided increased credibility. Findings identified clear evidence of ambidexterity in SMEs but in an emerging form rather than that prescribed for large established businesses. Seven themes revealed leaders’ efforts to build capabilities for current and future innovations. Three meta-inferences were found. Results enriched understanding of innovation in SMEs, particularly of senior leaders seeking to create enduring organizations.

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