Article | Academy of Management Review | April 2003

Exploitation, Exploration, and Process Management: The Productivity Dilemma Revisited

by Mary J. Benner and Michael L. Tushman


We develop a contingency view of process management's influence on both technological innovation and organizational adaptation. We argue that while process management activities are beneficial for organizations in stable contexts, they are fundamentally inconsistent with all but incremental innovation and change. But dynamic capabilities are rooted in both exploitative and exploratory activities. We argue that process management activities must be buffered from exploratory activities and that ambidextrous organizational forms provide the complex contexts for these inconsistent activities to coexist.

Keywords: Management; Problems and Challenges;


Benner, Mary J., and Michael L. Tushman. "Exploitation, Exploration, and Process Management: The Productivity Dilemma Revisited." Academy of Management Review 28, no. 2 (April 2003): 238–256. (Winner of Academy of Management Review. Best Paper Award​. Also the 2013 AMR Decade Award winner.)