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Performance implications of exploration and exploitation in SMEs: The mediating role of interaction orientation

Abstract : Purpose – This research explores the complex relationships between knowledge strategies (i.e., exploration and exploitation) and the performance of manufacturing SMEs by testing the mediating role of customer relationship management capabilities, which are defined as a firm’s level of interaction orientation in this study. Design/methodology/approach – Following a hypothetical deductive approach and using data collected from 793 French manufacturing SMEs, the measurement model and relationships among the constructs were examined with structural equation modelling, using the partial least squares approach. Findings – The results support the expected mediating role of interaction orientation between exploitation and performance, and stress a competitive mediating role between exploration and performance. Complementary analyses demonstrate that while both exploration and exploitation are effectively antecedents of interaction orientation, which also acts as a lever to performance, they exhibit specific effects on the different dimensions of interaction orientation. Originality/value – The results specifically highlight that interaction orientation counterbalances the negative impact of exploration on performance. Moreover, the findings underline the key role that customer interaction processes and tools play in making exploration and exploitation singularly effective. This is a real issue, as SMEs broadly tend to adopt opportunistic tools, not necessarily as part of a clearly defined strategic focus.
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Contributor : Céline Bérard <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, May 12, 2020 - 12:53:28 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, May 13, 2020 - 1:36:07 AM


  • HAL Id : halshs-02570780, version 1


Laure Ambroise, Céline Bérard, Isabelle Prim-Allaz. Performance implications of exploration and exploitation in SMEs: The mediating role of interaction orientation. Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, In press. ⟨halshs-02570780⟩



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