Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Rojas Cordova C., Williamson A., Pertuzé J., Calvo G. (2022)

Why one strategy does not fit all: a systematic review on exploration–exploitation in different organizational archetypes

Revista : Review of Managerial Science
Tipo de publicación : ISI Ir a publicación


According to the ambidexterity literature, organizations tend to favor either exploration or exploitation activities. However, few studies have elucidated why this imbalance occurs, what the ideal balance is, and how to remedy any disparities between what organizations tend to do and what they should do. This study addresses this paucity by situating these questions in the context of environmental conditions (static or dynamic) and organizational conditions (simple or complex) through a strategic fit paradigm lens. We systematically reviewed 20 years of exploration–exploitation research and developed an empirically grounded, contextually relevant framework that describes four organizational archetypes: the Kangaroo, Lion, Mouse, and Camel archetypes. We found that it often makes sense for organizations to be off-balance and identified the factors that cause imbalance and the strategies that managers can employ to manipulate the exploration–exploitation mix according to their organizations’ specific archetypes. By incorporating all three questions and delineating between organizational archetypes, this systematic review brings together the fragmented literature and provides a novel framework for advancing research and influencing managerial practice.