The interplay between exploration and exploitation

  • Gupta A
  • Smith K
  • Shalley C
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Abstract

Exploration and exploitation have emerged as the twin concepts underpinning organizational adaptation research, yet some central issues related to them remain ambiguous. We address four related questions here: What do exploration and exploitation mean? Are they two ends of a continuum or orthogonal to each other? How should organizations achieve balance between exploration and exploitation--via ambidexterity or punctuated equilibrium? Finally, must all organizations strive for a balance, or is specialization in exploitation or exploration sometimes sufficient for long-run success? We summarize the contributions of the work in this special research forum and highlight important directions for future research.

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Authors

  • Anil K. Gupta

  • Ken G. Smith

  • Christina E. Shalley

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