Managing exploration and exploitation in creative organizations
Knight, Eric R.W.
Harvey, William S.
Purpose This paper addresses the paradox that individuals face in seeking to both generate new ideas and be committed to delivering standardised processes in a creative industry. We explore this tension in order to better understand how synergistic benefits are reaped at the intersection of these competing demands. Design/methodology/approach The paper adopts a longitudinal case study approach inside a global media organisation in the creative industries sector. Data derived from participant observations, manager interviews, administered survey instruments, and archival documentation. Findings We find that creative organisations experience explore/exploit paradoxes which are nested at three levels: knowledge, learning and motivation. Further, we find that managers are able to respond to competing tensions through organisational processes that allow differentiation/ integration simultaneously. These management responses are supported and sustained by both structural and contextual organisational forms. Originality/value First, we provide a clearer theoretical explanation of paradox in creative organisations by accounting for competing demands to explore and exploit through nested tensions. Second, we extend our understanding of management responses to these paradox by showing how managers balance both demands simultaneously rather than cumulatively over time, thereby offering insight into how managers behave over time. Third, we outline the supporting role of organisational form in sustaining management responses within creative organisations at the same time in order to reap synergistic benefits.
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Vol. 53 Iss 4 pp.