Title: Balancing explorative and exploitative learning under open innovation: an empirical study in China

Authors: Zhaohui Zhu; Jin Chen

Addresses: School of Accounting, Zhejiang Gongshang University, 18, Xuezheng Street, Xiasha, 310018, Hangxhou, Zhejiang, China. ' School of management, Zhejiang University, 38, Zheda road, Hangzhou, 310012, Zhejiang, China

Abstract: Based on March's balance theory of explorative and exploitative learning, the paper analyses the synergy between these two kinds of learning and their effect on innovation performance. Then, through a large sample of Chinese firms, the paper tests the synergy effect between these twin learning, and suggests that firms can balance explorative and exploitative learning and then promote their innovation performance. Lastly, the paper applies a structural equation model to determine which factors promote learning and innovation performance. The paper provides March's (1991) theory about exploration and exploitation within the context of technological learning in a developing country. The results suggest that it is of great importance for Chinese firms, because most of them pay great attention to exploitation, and also to emphasise both modes of technological learning, and to understand the value of important factors which will affect firms.

Keywords: explorative learning; exploitative learning; innovation performance; open innovation; China; structural equation modelling; SEM; developing countries; technological learning.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTLID.2012.050739

International Journal of Technological Learning, Innovation and Development, 2012 Vol.5 No.4, pp.385 - 407

Published online: 29 Nov 2012 *

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