Getting Trapped in the Suppression of Exploration: A Simulation Model

25 Pages Posted: 20 Oct 2011

See all articles by Bob Walrave

Bob Walrave

Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE) - Department of Industrial Engineering and Innovation Sciences

Kim E. van Oorschot

BI Norwegian Business School

A. Georges L. Romme

Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE)

Date Written: December 2011

Abstract

The benefits of strategically balancing exploitation and exploration are well documented in the literature. Nonetheless, many firms tend to overemphasize exploitation efforts, a situation commonly referred to as the ‘success trap’. Previous studies have attributed this behaviour to managerial incompetence or myopia. However, some management teams appear to adequately recognize the exploration need, while not being able to bring about the required strategic change. We draw on system dynamics modelling to investigate this phenomenon. A simulation model is developed and then the behaviour of a selected firm is replicated to uncover the underlying processes. As such, we develop a process theory of the success trap at the managerial level, coined the ‘suppression process’. This process theory describes and explains how the interplay between top managers, board members, and exploitation–exploration activities can trap the firm in the suppression of exploration.

Suggested Citation

Walrave, Bob and van Oorschot, Kim E. and Romme, A. Georges L., Getting Trapped in the Suppression of Exploration: A Simulation Model (December 2011). Journal of Management Studies, Vol. 48, Issue 8, pp. 1727-1751, 2011, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1946671 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6486.2011.01019.x

Bob Walrave (Contact Author)

Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE) - Department of Industrial Engineering and Innovation Sciences ( email )

Den Dolech 2
Eindhoven
Netherlands

Kim E. Van Oorschot

BI Norwegian Business School

Nydalsveien 37
Oslo, 0442
Norway

A. Georges L. Romme

Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE)

PO Box 513
Eindhoven, 5600 MB
Netherlands

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