Management of Exploration and Exploitation: Dynamic Capabilities Perspective

  • Okechukwu Stanlislous Nnoli

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Dynamic capabilities refer to a firm’s ability to build, integrate and reconfigure internal and external assets to respond to changes in its environment. Today, these capabilities are crucial for superior performance and competitive advantage. With the growing risk of corporate disruption due to technological advances and high volatility of current business environments, it is increasingly important for firms to develop these capabilities to effectively coordinate their exploration and exploitation processes. Doing so enables a firm to achieve competitive advantage and ensure its current viability and future survival.

This research explores relevant theories to show how dynamic capabilities help firms manage their exploration and exploitation processes. This study, rooted in a critical realist paradigm, takes a dynamic capabilities perspective in investigating the processes of exploration and exploitation in UK technology firms. It is a cross-sectional case study research design in which data collection and analysis was conducted using multiperspectival interpretative phenomenological analysis to guide semi-structured, open-ended interviews with research participants.

This thesis makes a number of contributions. Firstly, the research improves our understanding of dynamic capabilities by highlighting their implicit existence in the firms that undertake exploration and exploitation activities. Secondly, it develops an integrative framework for formalising management of exploration and exploitation processes to achieve and sustain competitive advantage. Thirdly, it identifies knowledge mechanisms and operational capabilities as the organisational factors through which dynamic capabilities influence exploration and exploitation activities. Fourthly, the study makes a unique methodological contribution by providing a multiperspectival, cross-contextual account of the experiences of managers dealing with exploration-exploitation tensions within software technology sector settings. Finally, the study highlights management and research implications for future opportunities.
Date of Award2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Glasgow Caledonian University
SupervisorColin Combe (Supervisor) & Constantinos Choromides (Supervisor)

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