Explore with Strangers, Exploit with Friends: Organizational Ambidexterity and Networks in Successful Technology Commercialization
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This dissertation seeks to relieve theoretical tension between organizational ambidexterity and network perspectives by developing a contingent model of firm-level exploration and exploitation. The central proposition of this model is firms need to both effectively explore and exploit to succeed but that inter-organizational network features supporting one of these activities are detrimental to the other. This model indicates firms can resolve this apparent paradox by configuring their networks contingent on the particular goals of these networks. In the context of technology commercialization, I hypothesize firms should benefit by configuring their inter-organizational networks to gather novel information when seeking to discover new technologies but gather redundant information when seeking to bring these new discoveries to market. I test these hypotheses with a unique panel data set of firms active in publishing, patenting, and commercializing technologies in the field of green chemistry. My empirical results largely support these hypothesized relationships.