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Table 1 Defining Exploitation and Exploration

From: Complexity in the oil and gas industry: a study into exploration and exploitation in integrated operations

  Exploitation Exploration
Meaning (Levinthal & March, 1993, p. 95) “the use and development of things already known”. “the pursuit of new knowledge of things that might come to be known”
Activities and ideas usually associated to exploitation and exploitation (March, 1991, p. 71) “Exploitation includes such things as refinement, choice, production, efficiency, selection, implementation, execution” “Exploration includes things captured by terms such as search, variation, risk taking, experimentation, play, flexibility, discovery, innovation”
Managerial actions enabling exploitation and exploration (March, 1994) Restricting variation Facilitating variation