Absorptive capacity, exploration, and exploitation: An analysis of the companies in Palmas, Tocantins

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Popadiuk S.
Nunes S.G.D.C.
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© 2018 Brazilian Institute for Information in Science and Technology. Central Europe.All Rights Reserved.This research is about the relationship between the exploitation, exploration, and absorptive capacity of the organizational knowledge. The three themes are of great importance to the sustainable competitive advantage of organizations. In general, although they are inserted in the discussion of organizational learning, they are still in the evolutionary process regarding antecedents, moderators, and outcomes, as can be observed in the theoretical reference. It has not been possible to identify studies with similar characteristics as the one presented here, i.e., studies linking exploration and exploitation with absorptive capacity, particularly in the Brazilian context. The main objective was to evaluate the degree of association between exploration, exploitation, and absorptive capacity. This study used quantitative research in 100 companies operating in commerce and services sectors, all located in the city of Palmas, Tocantins State. The sector was chosen based on the concentration of commercial and services companies in the city. The informants were the managers who worked in these companies. The questionnaire involved the use of two scales: one scale for the measurement of exploration and exploitation, and the other scale for measuring the absorptive capacity, both validated by early studies. The technique involved structural equation modeling using Partial Least Square-Path Modeling (PLS-PM) software was used for the verification of the principal hypothesis. The concepts of exploration and exploitation were based on six dimensions: organizational knowledge practices, innovation practices, strategic orientation, competition, partnerships, and efficiency. The concept of absorptive capacity was based on four dimensions: porosity, routines and structures, public knowledge, and individual abilities. The results showed that companies had exploitation orientation. Regarding the absorptive capacity, companies had a high relationship with the environment, with routines and with procedures, and with public knowledge. The main hypothesis was confirmed, indicating a positive relationship between exploration, exploitation, and absorptive capacity.
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