Are knowledge exchange and knowledge protection conflicting or complementary? Although facilitating knowledge exchange and protecting core proprietary knowledge are important in interorganizational learning, extant studies often regard them as conflicting activities. Few studies have discussed the mechanisms that can help firms achieve both. In this current study, we extend the concept of ambidexterity to the interorganizational learning context and suggest several mechanisms that can enhance knowledge exchange and knowledge protection simultaneously. We conducted a survey and the empirical results reveal that experience sharing and shared interpretation are positively associated with knowledge exchange success. Hostage arrangement enhances the level of knowledge protection, whereas reciprocal investment has no effect on knowledge protection. Furthermore, ambidexterity (the product term of knowledge exchange success and knowledge protection) significantly affects the performance of a firm. Finally, we discuss the implications of this research and offer suggestions for future research.
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