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The Interplay Between Exploration and Exploitation in SMEs

Exploration and Exploitation in Early Stage Ventures and SMEs

ISBN: 978-1-78350-655-2, eISBN: 978-1-78350-656-9

ISSN: 1479-067X

Publication date: 4 August 2014


Despite a growing body of research on exploration and exploitation, scholars have tended to study the phenomena from a narrow perspective mostly within larger, well-established organizations. However, it is still far from obvious how top management within small-to-medium sized enterprises (SMEs) are to address the liability of newness and seek access to resources and capabilities relevant for the pursuit of exploration and exploitation. Resource sourcing and allocation decisions are particularly critical in SMEs and must be aligned with the firm’s fundamental strategic intent and growth model. For example, organizations following a stage model by first developing a domestic market and then expanding globally will require different bundles of resources and capabilities than organizations that are designed to conquer the global arena. Indeed, management systems will likely need to adapt across the firm life cycle such that it can fulfill an explorative function in the earlier stages and an exploitative function in later ones. Hence, early-stage ventures have to master the resource reallocation process which is contingent on their access to capital. Across the firm life cycle, venture capitalists can tap into the growth potential of early-stage ventures is a key factor behind their successful short-term innovative performance as well as long-term survival.



Stettner, U., Aharonson, B.S. and Amburgey, T.L. (2014), "The Interplay Between Exploration and Exploitation in SMEs", Exploration and Exploitation in Early Stage Ventures and SMEs (Technology, Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Competitive Strategy, Vol. 14), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 3-13.



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