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Do Incumbents Really Fail to Innovate? The Role of Exploratory Search and Structural Contexts

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abstract Incumbents often experience organizational rigidities when innovating. Prior studies advise these firms to create a single organizational entity outside the mainstream organization that encompasses all exploratory activities. We, however, argue the reverse: incumbents following this design approach become trapped in specific types of exploratory search, thus failing to pursue others. Based on an inductive study, we identify the type of exploratory search as a task contingency for managers' choice of structural context configurations. We find that successful incumbents assign different types of exploratory supply-side and demand-side search to different structural contexts with distinct levels of differentiation and autonomy.
   
type conference paper (English)
   
keywords Innovation; Incumbents; Organization Design; Exploration; Search
   
name of conference 29th Annual International Conference of the Strategic Management Society (SMS) (Washington D.C.)
date of conference 10-10-2009
title of proceedings Finalist for Best Paper for Practice Implications Award
review double-blind review
   
citation Zimmermann, A., & Raisch, S. (2009). Do Incumbents Really Fail to Innovate? The Role of Exploratory Search and Structural Contexts. In Finalist for Best Paper for Practice Implications Award.