Fellow-townsmenship as the mechanism for exploring and exploiting business opportunities: A longitudinal reflection of the nineteenth century Ningbo entrepreneurs in Shanghai
This research examines how fellow-townsmenship, a distinctive homophilous social network, functioned among Ningbo entrepreneurs pertaining to their simultaneous exploration and exploitation of business opportunities, or achieving ambidexterity, in the nineteenth century. By investigating data in relevant historical records from museums, archives and libraries, case studies based on two representative Ningbo entrepreneurs from a distinctive business family showcase how those entrepreneurs took advantage of townsmenship to resolve the trade-off between exploration and exploitation. In doing so, simultaneous exploration and exploitation alongside the expansion of fellow townsmenship proved to be effective and successful. This research provides new grounds to examine ambidexterity.