The diffusion of digital technologies allows for the involvement of regular information systems (IS) users beyond expert innovators in digital innovation. Previous research rooted in organizational learning theory generally links explorative, risky, and resource-intensive activities to innovation. However, the deep, routinized use of regular IS users can serve as an anchor for generating digital innovations, allowing organizations to pursue exploitation for digital innovations. In an online-vignette experiment, we test how the distinct behaviors of exploitative and explorative IS use affect individuals’ innovative behavior with IS. Results show an increased innovative behavior for explorative as well as exploitative IS use. By showing the positive effect of exploitative use on innovative behavior, our study offers evidence contrasting the dominant paradigm in theory. For practice, we emphasize continuing exploration while simultaneously intensifying engagement in exploitation for digital innovation to enhance organizational resource efficiency.
Lohoff, Laura and Waltermann, Hubertus, "Exploring Exploitation: Investigating Information Systems Use for Digital Innovations" (2023). ECIS 2023 Research Papers. 243.