IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The neuro-scientific foundations of the exploration-exploitation dilemma


  • Daniella Laureiro-Martínez

    (KITeS, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy)

  • Stefano Brusoni

    (KITeS, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy)

  • Maurizio Zollo

    (KITeS, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy)


This paper aims to leverage neuroscience and psychology to contribute to the development of a microfoundation for an important managerial dilemma: the organizational ability to continuously explore novel domains of activity and exploit the current knowledge base with increasing efficacy. The dilemma for firms is at how to search for sustained competitive advantage. The conflicting objectives of exploration and exploitation compete for scarce resources, among which managerial attention is possibly the most critical. We propose that some recent neuroscientific findings could help us uncover the individual-level foundations of the organizational ability to both explore and exploit. Critical to our analysis is an understanding of how individuals allocate their limited time to alternative uses and vary the scope of their attention. We build on recent evidence on the way that individual learning modes are altered, in order to extend the discussion on organizational exploration and exploitation.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniella Laureiro-Martínez & Stefano Brusoni & Maurizio Zollo, 2009. "The neuro-scientific foundations of the exploration-exploitation dilemma," KITeS Working Papers 004, KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy, revised Apr 2009.
  • Handle: RePEc:cri:cespri:wp231

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Ljungquist, Urban, 2012. "New Dimensions Added for Enhanced Core Competence Application," Working Papers 2012/03, Blekinge Institute of Technology, Department of Industrial Economics.

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cri:cespri:wp231. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Valerio Sterzi). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.