Environmental sustainability orientation and ambidextrous green innovation: do the roles of women on corporate boards matter?

  • Maria Vincenza Ciasullo
  • Raffaella Montera
  • Alexander Douglas
Keywords: environmental orientation sustainability; women on corporate boards; green innovation ambidexterity; exploitation innovation; exploration innovation


Purpose of the paper: This study investigates the relationship between environmental sustainability orientation and green innovation ambidexterity and considers the role of women on corporate boards in moderating this relationship. To this end, a research model was developed according to the Natural Resource Based View Theory and the Upper Echelon Theory.

Methodology: A survey was conducted of 116 listed Italian companies with at least one female director holding a specified role. A moderated hierarchical regression was employed to test the research hypotheses.

Findings: Environmental sustainability orientation positively influences green exploitation innovation and exploration innovation. Moreover, the roles of women on corporate boards strengthen the effect of environmental sustainability orientation on green innovation ambidexterity.

Research limits: The size of the sample and its nature required prudence in generalizing the results to unlisted Italian companies.

Practical implications: Environmental sustainability orientation is an affordable solution to address the innovation paradox, since it contributes to a balance between exploitation and exploration activities. Moreover, a higher number of female directors should be present on the boards of firms that look to improve environmental sustainability by fostering green innovation ambidexterity.

Originality of the paper: Environmental sustainability orientation, green innovation ambidexterity, and women on corporate boards were contextually investigated for the first time. Thus, the study adds a more granular understanding of these constructs through a model that is theoretically derived and empirically examined.


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