Session 219


Track I

Date: Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Time: 11:30 – 12:45


Room: Meeting Room 2

Session Chair:
Maurizio Sobrero, University of Bologna

Title: Ambidexterity at the Boundaries: The Role of Nurturing and Reverse Nurturing


  • Christian Welling, University of St. Gallen

Abstract: This paper develops a theoretical model of organizational ambidexterity at the boundaries. The boundary-spanning activities of nurturing and reverse nurturing are suggested as the processes that lead to contextual ambidexterity at the boundaries of intra-organizational business units. It is argued that the higher the level of nurturing is, the higher will be the level of contextual ambidexterity at the boundaries of the exploratory unit. Conversely, the higher the level of reverse nurturing is, the higher will be the level of contextual ambidexterity at the boundaries of the exploitative unit. A quantitative research design based on a large-scale business unit sample is proposed. The framework introduced in the paper contributes to the current revival of the boundary-spanning concept as a core analytical element in organization theory.

Title: Exploration, Exploitation, and Financial Performance: Does the Market Reward Exploration?


  • John Burr, Purdue University
  • Dinesh Iyer, Rutgers University

Abstract: In this paper, we use patent data citations to clearly identify when firms have engaged in exploration and their resulting influence on firm performance. We extend the work of Uotila et al. by specifically considering patent data in determining optimal trade-off levels between exploration and exploitation. We focus on the realized outcomes of search by analyzing patent activity to determine an optimal amount of exploration after controlling for industry. We find that exploration is value enhancing for lower levels while explotation at high level can actually be value destroying as firms alter their technological course.

Title: In the Mix: Exploration and Exploitation in New Product Creation


  • Enrico Forti, University College London
  • Simone Ferriani, University of Bologna
  • Elisa Montaguti, University of Bologna
  • Maurizio Sobrero, University of Bologna

Abstract: This proposal considers the dynamic interplay between the exploration of new possibilities and the exploitation of old certainties in new product development. Delineating distinct domains of exploration-exploitation within and beyond firm’s boundaries, we propose that firms balance exploration and exploitation overtime within as well as across domains. In doing so we suggest that firms’ search efforts actually vary across two distinct dimensions within each domain: search depth, or how much the firm reuses (exploits) known product attributes and relational structures; and search scope, or how widely the firm explores new knowledge and partners. Empirically, we present a multilevel model of exploration/exploitation in new product development, addressing some key issues concerning product and brand strategy in the context of music industry.

Title: Surviving Change: Structural Micro-Foundations of Exploration, Exploitation, and Ambidexterity


  • Konstantinos Grigoriou, Florida International University

Abstract: High tech industry environments are characterized by frequent technological change and knowledge intensity. Performance in these environments depends on the firms’ capabilities to continuously innovate and on effective development of their knowledge resources. However, prior research’s focus on the action of collectives has made it difficult to understand the micro-processes and individual roles that are the building blocks of higher level theoretical constructs such as “resources” or “capabilities”. In this paper, I propose that looking at the internal knowledge networks that emerge in research organizations can provide us with valuable insight into the micro sources of innovation. I construct testable propositions and describe my research design to uncover the impact of structural individual roles on exploration, exploitation, ambidexterity and subsequently, on the creation of sustainable competitive advantage.

All Sessions in Track I...

Sun: 10:00 – 11:30
Session 264: Strategy in an Uncertain World: “Black Swan” Implications for K&I Scholars
Sun: 13:00 – 14:30
Session 265: The Changing Governance Landscape: Implications for Knowledge and Innovation Scholars
Sun: 15:00 – 16:30
Session 266: Integrating Theories of Problem Formation
Sun: 16:30 – 17:30
Session 313: Knowledge & Innovation, IG Meeting
Mon: 12:45 – 14:00
Session 201: 50th Anniversary of Penrose's (1959) The Theory of the Growth of the Firm
Session 212: Technological Innovation
Mon: 15:45 – 17:00
Session 218: Let the Knowledge Flow...
Session 223: Exploration and Novelty
Mon: 17:15 – 18:30
Session 209: Learning and Collaboration
Session 221: Innovation and Management Practice
Tue: 10:00 – 11:15
Session 202: Microfoundations of Knowledge and Learning
Session 235: Regulating the Market for Ideas: The Role of Communities, Norms, and Networks
Tue: 11:30 – 12:45
Session 203: Dynamic Capabilities
Session 224: Governing Knowledge
Tue: 14:30 – 15:45
Session 207: How Do Capabilities Develop?
Session 210: The Complex Roles of Experience
Wed: 10:00 – 11:15
Session 211: Knowledge Transfer
Session 215: Knowledge-Based Strategic Interaction
Wed: 11:30 – 12:45
Session 213: The Human Factor in Knowledge and Innovation
Session 219: Ambidexterity

Strategic Management Society

Washington DC