ambidexterity, exploration, exploitation, collaboration, alliance portfolio partner diversity, innovation performance


Addressing the mixed findings in the literature, we distinguish between two distinct types of innovations, exploitative and exploratory innovations, and study their relationships with innovation performance. Organizational ambidexterity, the ability of a firm to simultaneously pursue both explorative and exploitative innovations, has been highlighted as increasingly important for the sustained competitive advantage of firms. By using the Community Innovation Survey 2006 micro data for innovation from twelve countries, we showed that simultaneously pursuing exploratory and exploitative innovation hinders firms’ innovation performance. Furthermore, we proposed that firms’ collaborations with different types of partners (suppliers, customers, competitors, research institutions and universities) would moderate the impact of exploitative and exploratory innovations on firm innovation performance differently. Our study also reveals that that the use of diverse collaborators is beneficial to the contradictory pressures for explorative and exploitative innovations.