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Exploration and Exploitation in Innovation: Reframing the Interpretation

20 Pages Posted: 8 May 2008  

Ying Li

Hasselt University

Wim Vanhaverbeke

Hasselt University; ESADE Business School; National University of Singapore (NUS)

Wilfred Schoenmakers

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Abstract

There has been a burgeoning literature about exploitation and exploration since March's seminal article in 1991. However, in reviewing the extant literature we find different interpretations of both concepts leading to ambiguity and even some inconsistency. This paper focuses in particular on the interpretation of exploration and exploitation in the literature on technological innovation. It addresses two critical research questions. First, what are the different interpretations of exploitation and exploration? Second, how can we set up a framework that reconciles these differences and reduces the ambiguity that we find in the literature? To answer these two questions, we first explain what the root causes of these different viewpoints are. Second, we provide a theoretical framework that integrates the different perspectives, sets up a new typology to define exploration and exploitation, identifies white spaces in the current research and provides guidance for future research.

Suggested Citation

Li, Ying and Vanhaverbeke, Wim and Schoenmakers, Wilfred, Exploration and Exploitation in Innovation: Reframing the Interpretation. Creativity and Innovation Management, Vol. 17, Issue 2, pp. 107-126, June 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1130524 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8691.2008.00477.x

Ying Li

Hasselt University ( email )

Agoralaan - building D
Gebouw D
Diepenbeek, 3590
Belgium

Wim Vanhaverbeke

Hasselt University ( email )

Agoralaan - building D
Gebouw D
Diepenbeek, 3590
Belgium
+3216623663 (Phone)
+3216623663 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://wimvanhaverbeke.be

ESADE Business School

Av. de Pedralbes, 60-62
Barcelona, 08034
Spain

National University of Singapore (NUS) ( email )

Bukit Timah Road 469 G
Singapore, 117591
Singapore

Wilfred Schoenmakers

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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