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Despite a growing body of research on exploration and exploitation, scholars have tended to study the phenomena from a narrow perspective mostly within larger…
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.
Resource reconfiguration enables firms to adapt in dynamic environments by supplementing, removing, recombining, or redeploying resources. Whereas prior research has…
Resource reconfiguration enables firms to adapt in dynamic environments by supplementing, removing, recombining, or redeploying resources. Whereas prior research has underscored the merits of resource reconfiguration and the modes for implementing it, little is known about the antecedents of this practice. According to prior research, under given industry conditions, resource reconfiguration is prompted by a firm’s corporate strategy and by characteristics of its knowledge assets. We complement this research by identifying learning from performance feedback as a fundamental driver of resource reconfiguration. We claim that performance decline relative to aspiration motivates the firm’s investment in knowledge reconfiguration, and that this investment is reinforced by the munificence of complementary resources in its industry, although uncertainty about the availability of such resources limits that investment. Testing our conjectures with a sample of 248 electronics firms during the period 1993–2001, we reveal a clear distinction between exploitative reconfiguration, which combines existing knowledge elements, and exploratory reconfiguration, which incorporates new knowledge elements. We demonstrate that performance decline relative to aspiration motivates a shift from exploitative reconfiguration to exploratory reconfiguration. Moreover, munificence of complementary resources mitigates the tradeoff between exploratory and exploitative reconfigurations, whereas uncertainty weakens the motivation to engage in both types of reconfiguration, despite the performance gap. Nevertheless, codeployment, which extends the deployment of knowledge assets to additional domains, is more susceptible to uncertainty than redeployment, which withdraws those assets from their original domain and reallocates them to new domains. Our study contributes to emerging research on resource reconfiguration, extends the literature on learning from performance feedback, and advances research on balancing exploration and exploitation.