The interplay between exploration and exploitation in SMEs

Uriel Stettner, Barak Aharonson, Terry L. Amburgey

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Ltd.
Number of pages370
StatePublished - 2014

Publication series

NameTechnology Innovation Entrepreneurship and Competitive Strategy
ISSN (Print)1479-067X


  • Early-stage venture
  • Exploration exploitation
  • Firm life cycle
  • Performance
  • SME


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