Contextual ambidexterity is of paramount importance for new product innovation and organizational success, particularly in high-tech firms operating in a dynamic environment. Whilst it is recognized that contextual ambidexterity is grounded in organizational culture, existing research has not crystallized what kind of organizational culture enables contextual ambidexterity and consequently new product innovation. In this paper, drawing on data from 150 UK and 242 Chinese high-tech firms, we conceptualize ambidextrous organizational culture as a higher-order construct consisting of organizational diversity and shared vision, and examine its impacts on contextual ambidexterity and consequently on new product innovation outcomes. Using structural equation modelling, we find significant relationships between ambidextrous organizational culture, contextual ambidexterity and new product innovation outcomes; contextual ambidexterity mediates the relationship between ambidextrous organizational culture and new product innovation outcomes. Our findings also suggest that the above relationships are robust in the UK–China comparative research context, and that contextual ambidexterity and new product innovation outcomes are dependent on business unit level heterogeneity (i.e. ambidextrous organizational culture and research and development strength) rather than industry or cross-cultural differences.