Managing the exploration vs. exploitation dilemma in transnational �bridging teams�

Lunnan, Randi; Barth, Theodor
May 2003
Journal of World Business;Summer2003, Vol. 38 Issue 2, p110
Academic Journal
In this paper we explore the dilemma between exploitation and exploration in dispersed �bridge-teams,� i.e., teams in a firm working closely with an external partner. Based on the seminal insight by March (1991) and the learning model developed by Crossan, Lane, and White (1999), we set out to explore what type of learning is generated in teams and to what extent this learning is captured by the firm. We present four cases from two firms giving some variety in learning approaches. Based on this insight, we argue that characteristics of the activity being performed, the team itself and the firm are influential relating to what is learned and how much is shared. We argue that teams that are located at different locations and involving many nationalities have higher exposure to a variety of rich knowledge, but that the process of integrating this learning into the firm is more difficult due to distance leading to lower visibility and central managerial attention.


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