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Managing the exploration vs. exploitation dilemma in transnational "bridging teams"


  • Lunnan, Randi
  • Barth, Theodor


In this paper we explore the dilemma between exploitation and exploration in dispersed "bridge-teams," i.e., teams in a firm working closely with an external partner. Based on the seminal insight by March (1991) and the learning model developed by Crossan, Lane, and White (1999), we set out to explore what type of learning is generated in teams and to what extent this learning is captured by the firm. We present four cases from two firms giving some variety in learning approaches. Based on this insight, we argue that characteristics of the activity being performed, the team itself and the firm are influential relating to what is learned and how much is shared. We argue that teams that are located at different locations and involving many nationalities have higher exposure to a variety of rich knowledge, but that the process of integrating this learning into the firm is more difficult due to distance leading to lower visibility and central managerial attention.

Suggested Citation

  • Lunnan, Randi & Barth, Theodor, 2003. "Managing the exploration vs. exploitation dilemma in transnational "bridging teams"," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 110-126, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:worbus:v:38:y:2003:i:2:p:110-126

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ingemar Dierickx & Karel Cool, 1989. "Asset Stock Accumulation and Sustainability of Competitive Advantage," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 35(12), pages 1504-1511, December.
    2. Ingemar Dierickx & Karel Cool, 1989. "Asset Stock Accumulation and the Sustainability of Competitive Advantage: Reply," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 35(12), pages 1514-1514, December.
    3. Ghemawat, Pankaj & Ricart, Joan E., 1993. "Organizational tension between static and dynamic efficiency, The," IESE Research Papers D/255, IESE Business School.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:spr:manint:v:48:y:2008:i:2:d:10.1007_s11575-008-0013-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Randi Lunnan & Youzhen Zhao, 2014. "Regional headquarters in China: Role in MNE knowledge transfer," Asia Pacific Journal of Management, Springer, vol. 31(2), pages 397-422, June.

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