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Article
Publication date: 13 February 2018

Dehong Li, Jun Lin, Wentian Cui and Yanjun Qian

This study aims to clarify the effect of team effort allocation between knowledge exploration and exploitation on the generation of extremely good or poor innovations. The…

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Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to clarify the effect of team effort allocation between knowledge exploration and exploitation on the generation of extremely good or poor innovations. The influence of previous collaborative experience among team members on the effect of team effort allocation is also investigated to understand the relationship between team members’ collaboration networks and knowledge learning.

Design/methodology/approach

This study uses data of all patents granted by the US Patent and Trademark Office between 1984 and 2010. The inventors involved in a patent are regarded as members of the focal team. Logistic regression is used to analyze the data.

Findings

Allocating greater effort to exploration than to exploitation is beneficial to achieving breakthrough innovations despite the risk of generating particularly poor innovations. This benefit increases with collaborative experience among team members. Placing an equal emphasis on knowledge exploration and exploitation is not particularly effective in achieving breakthrough innovations; it is, however, the best strategy for avoiding particularly poor innovations.

Originality/value

This research not only provides valuable insights for research on innovation and knowledge management by studying the team effort allocation strategy used to achieve breakthroughs and avoid particularly poor innovations but also represents an advancement in bridging two streams of research – knowledge learning and social networks – by highlighting the influence of the team members’ collaborative networks on the effect of team effort allocation between knowledge exploration and exploitation.

Details

Journal of Knowledge Management, vol. 22 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1367-3270

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 19 June 2017

Le Wang, Jun Lin, Jie Yan and Wentian Cui

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the combined effects of different modalities of long-term knowledge accumulation and short-term knowledge searching on the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the combined effects of different modalities of long-term knowledge accumulation and short-term knowledge searching on the generation of high-impact ideas. The authors aim at providing useful conclusions for academic scholars.

Design/methodology/approach

Two dimensions of the cumulative knowledge structures of researchers are measured: knowledge depth and knowledge breadth. The search strategies employed by researchers are classified as local search and distant search. The authors use researchers’ historical publications to measure cumulative knowledge structures. References contained in these publications serve as an indicator of knowledge searching behaviors and are used to measure search strategies. Highly cited papers with random-but-matched papers from the same journal published in the same year are adopted to test the hypotheses.

Findings

The knowledge depth of researchers positively predicts the generation of high-impact ideas. Knowledge breadth has a bell-shaped relationship to the generation of high-impact ideas. Two instances of “strategic fit” between the knowledge structures and search strategies of researchers are identified; namely, knowledge breadth combines most effectively with local search, and knowledge depth combines most effectively with distant search in generating high-impact ideas.

Research limitations/implications

Using article references to measure authors’ knowledge search behaviors may lead to biases. Future research should perform a survey to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the knowledge search behaviors of scholars.

Practical implications

A “T-shaped” knowledge structure in the long run is recommended for maximal generation of high-impact ideas. Researchers who have not adopted this optimal knowledge structure can employ a matched search strategy to leverage their existing knowledge structures.

Originality/value

This paper is among the first to examine the interactive effects between the cumulative knowledge structures and short-term knowledge searching strategies of researchers. The authors have enriched the exploration and exploitation theory by adding the dimension of time into the analysis.

Details

Management Decision, vol. 55 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

Keywords

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