Developing Leader Behavior to Effectively Balance Exploration and Exploitation and Create Organizational Capacity

By: Jennifer Groh   Claudia Santin  

Innovation and change are hallmarks of modern organizational success, requiring the complex and often polarizing need for both exploration and exploitation to build capacity and achieve sustainability. Tabeau, Geyser, Halting, & Wijnber (2016) citing Levinthal and March (1993) noted that exploration activities relate to activities that search for new knowledge, while exploitation activities relate to the organization’s efforts to improve current knowledge. According to Rosing and Zacher (2017), exploration and exploitation are critical to the innovation process and are leader behaviors that require attention and balance. Leaders, therefore, are challenged with utilizing behaviors and fostering a culture that balances the extremes of exploration and exploitation to build organizational capacity and sustainability through innovation. Shapiro, Wang, and Peltason (2015) proposed mindfulness, Hollywood, Blaess, Santin, and Bloom (2016) proposed holistic mentoring and Groh (2016) proposed pragmatic energy. Gabriel (2004) discussed how to use narratives as devices to engender collaboration between managers and employees and Boje (2001) discussed how organizational narratives and storytelling apply to innovation narratives. This presentation reviews the literature on leader ambidextrous behaviors and examines the aforementioned approaches for their potential in developing leader behaviors that effectively balance exploration and exploitation in creating organization capacity and sustainability. The discussion will also include practical application narratives; attendees are encouraged to bring their own practical examples of leader approaches to balancing creativity and execution to develop the dialogue.

Organizational Culture Leadership
Organizational Cultures
Focused Discussion

Jennifer Groh

Associate Vice President, Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL), United States
United States

Dr. Claudia Santin

Dean, College of Business, Concordia University Chicago, United States
Illinois, United States

Dr. Claudia Santin, has over the course of the last three decades, established a reputation as a pragmatic change agent and effective team builder. Dr. Santin has served in the capacity of university Professor, Chair, Dean, Provost, Academic Vice President, and President. In these series of progressively demanding positions, she has blended the components of a superb higher education experience, especially in the field of online delivery systems, with the demands of both the domestic and international marketplace consistently achieving the delicate balance of quality and profit. Dr. Santin, currently serves as Dean of the College of Business at Concordia University Chicago. She is CEO of Saravanti Educational Advisors, and is an educational consultant providing services to universities in the area of developing and sustaining online learning enterprises within both for-profit and not- for- profit sectors. She is recognized for her ability and expertise in the area of building successful academic enterprises and effective teams. Small to medium sized not- for- profit, regionally accredited institutions; professional associations; corporate universities, and for- profit innovators have comprised Dr. Santin’s clientele. Dr. Santin teaches at the master's and doctoral level, and has served as a dissertation chair and committee member for over 20 years.