Notwithstanding the ample research on organizational search and its performance implications, the factors that shape the organizations’ search strategy is fairly under-explored. This study investigates how problems’ characteristics influence the managerial decision of searching jointly or independently for solving a given problem. We make a case where problem-solvers’ activities affect the landscape of the organization’s future search. The empirical findings from developing an industrial software package across 13 versions and along 60 months demonstrate that the joint search is pursued when solving complex problems, involving cross-module interdependencies, whereas the problem-solvers opt for independent search efforts while searching in distant loci, discovering novel solutions. Moreover, the results show that in the short term (within stages of search) the software developers go for joint search, whereas in the long term (across stages of search) they resort to individual search activities. These insights complement the extant innovation and search literature by endogenizing the organizational search strategy decision, and thereby, exploring its determinants in a knowledge-intensive context.
- Joint Search
- Organizational Search