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Trade-offs between knowledge exploitation and exploration activities
journal contributionposted on 2023-06-08, 19:08 authored by Ilan Oshri, Shan L Pan, Susan Newell
This paper explores trade-offs between knowledge exploitation and exploration activities. The study of exploitation and exploration activities is not new; however, rarely has past research perceived exploitation and exploration activities as two edges of one continuum. Furthermore, little evidence has been reported as to the actual trade-offs that firms face when launching either exploration or exploitation activities. This paper sets about filling this gap by addressing the following question: To what extent does an investment in one exploitation activity hinder the development of an exploration activity within the firm? A new process innovation targeting the exploitation of the firm's internal capabilities through an extensive component reuse and reconfiguration program is studied and the implications for inter-related exploration activities, such as the development of engineers' expertise is examined. To reveal the trade-offs between exploration and exploitation activities, both changes within and between these exploitation and exploration activities, over time, are studied. Based on data drawn from an in-depth study of several product development project teams in one high-tech company, we conclude that by investing in exploitation activities, a firm may limit some specific exploration activities.
JournalKnowledge Management Research & Practice
Department affiliated with
- Business and Management Publications
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