Mccracken On Exploitative And Explorative Modes In Firms

Lynne Kiesling

This Grant McCracken post, inspired by a presentation by Michael Tushman (Harvard Bus Sch) on the future of the corporation, is one of the most interesting and insightful and thought-provoking things I’ve read in a long time. Highly recommended.

One thought on “Mccracken On Exploitative And Explorative Modes In Firms

  1. The classical response of the exploitative corporations has been to monitor the activities of the explorative corporations (which are generally smaller and less well capitalized) and to buy them when they appear to be on the verge of success. Research in many exploitative corporations is limited to studying the activities of the explorative corporations. Frequently, this new acquirer/acquiree relationship is a “shotgun wedding” and the management and creative talent of the explorative corporation do not remain long with the exploitative acquiring company.

    I would suggest that this tendency is greater in exploitative companies run by accountants and lawyers (who are largely “rearward thinking” and risk-avoiding)than in companies run by engineers, scientists and marketeers (who tend to be more forward thinking and opportunity-seeking).

    In my experience, researchers fear marketeers about as much as they fear the accountants and lawyers, but for very different reasons. The former are always anxious to rush the latest development to market, ready or not; the latter are always more concerned about the cost or the risk than the opportunity or the threat.

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