• Christian GarausEmail author
  • Wolfgang H. Güttel
  • Stefan Konlechner
  • Hubert Lackner
  • Barbara Müller
Living reference work entry


Balanced organizational learning; Exploration-exploitation balance; Innovation-Efficiency

The question how organizations survive and prosper within changing environments is a central topic in contemporary management theory and practice. In order to gain and sustain competitive advantage, organizations need to reconcile two seemingly incompatible learning capabilities simultaneously: exploration (i.e., building new competencies) and exploitation (i.e., using and refining existing ones) (March 1991). The tensions between exploration and exploitation emerge from their competition for scarce resources and their self-reinforcing nature (Gupta et al. 2006). Most firms tend to overemphasize exploitation because payoffs of exploitation are more predictable and closer in time. Although firms focusing solely on exploitation may reap the short-term benefits of exploitation, they suffer from the lack of new ideas in the long run (“competency trap”). Likewise, focusing on exploration to...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christian Garaus
    • 1
    Email author
  • Wolfgang H. Güttel
    • 2
  • Stefan Konlechner
    • 2
  • Hubert Lackner
    • 2
  • Barbara Müller
    • 2
  1. 1.WU (Vienna University of Economics and Business)Institute for Strategy, Technology and OrganizationViennaAustria
  2. 2.Institute of Human Resource and Change ManagementJohannes Kepler UniversityLinzAustria

Section editors and affiliations

  • David F. J. Campbell
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty for Interdisciplinary StudiesAlpen-Adria-University KlagenfurtViennaAustria