Module Note | July 2013

Exploration vs. Exploitation

by Willy Shih


This module note introduces James March's concept of exploration and exploitation, and the management challenge of balancing the allocation of resources to the two activities in the firm. The note also touches on the O'Reilly and Tushman paper on the ambidextrous organization, and mentions some of the other literature.

Keywords: exploration and exploitation; Exploitation; research; scientific research; product commercialization; Innovation and Invention; Innovation and Management; Innovation Leadership; Innovation Strategy; Technological Innovation; Knowledge Acquisition; Growth and Development Strategy; Resource Allocation; Strategic Planning; Research and Development; Science-Based Business; Corporate Strategy; Knowledge Sharing; Biotechnology Industry; Information Technology Industry; Manufacturing Industry; Medical Devices and Supplies Industry; Pharmaceutical Industry; Semiconductor Industry; Technology Industry; United States;


Shih, Willy. "Exploration vs. Exploitation." Harvard Business School Module Note 614-004, July 2013.