Exploration, Exploitation, and Knowledge Management

Proceedings of the Twelfth Americas Conference on Information Systems (AMCIS), August 2006

9 Pages Posted: 13 Feb 2007 Last revised: 20 Nov 2008

See all articles by David A. Bray

David A. Bray

Harvard University; University of Oxford; National Defense University


James G. March conceived organizational learning as a balance between the exploration of new alternatives and the exploitation of existing competencies. This study extends March's model to consider exploration and exploitation in hierarchical organizations. First, the effect of additional tiers is analyzed and related to March's original constructs. Second, the study evaluates additional effects of a knowledge management system that collects and shares knowledge from expert individuals in an organization. This study finds that in the absence of personnel turnover, a knowledge strategy of high exploitation and low exploration for a multi-tiered hierarchical organization reduces the veracity of average individual knowledge when compared to alternative strategies. The magnitude of this reduction in veracity increases as the number of tiers in a hierarchical organization increase; a flat organization will see less of a reduction. A weighted least-squares regression performed on a second set of data corroborates this central observation. This study is the first of three dissertation papers planned by the author, examining the organizational dynamics associated with knowledge management systems.

Keywords: organizational learning, exploration, exploitation, personnel turnover, environmental turbulence, hierarchical organizations, knowledge management

JEL Classification: D23, D70, D83

Suggested Citation

Bray, David A., Exploration, Exploitation, and Knowledge Management. Proceedings of the Twelfth Americas Conference on Information Systems (AMCIS), August 2006. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=962534

David A. Bray (Contact Author)

Harvard University ( email )

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

University of Oxford

United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.linkedin.com/in/dbray

National Defense University ( email )

Marshall Hall
300 5th Avenue
Washington, DC 20319-5066
United States

Register to save articles to
your library


Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics