Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to provide an example of how an apparently incongruent combination of organizational variables can have a positive effect on innovation through knowledge creation. Design/methodology/approach – Based on previous theory, four original hypotheses were developed and later tested with empirical data collected from 125 research and development in Japan, using analysis of variance and regression analysis.

Findings and resources can significantly interact to generate a combined impact on the knowledge creation capability of organizations, which in turn is positively associated with their innovation performance. In particular, long-term were found to have a greater when combined with . Synthesizing short-term managerial influences with is not better than combining them with exploration resources. This holds true especially for organizations of small and medium size.

Research limitations/implications – This study only evaluates one case of many possibilities of seemingly antithetical combinations that can also have a beneficial impact in organizations. A larger and diverse sample, together with enhanced dimensions of managerial influences and organizational resources can make this study’s implications much more universal.

Practical implications – An ingenious and purposeful synthesis of organizational variables conventionally seen as incompatible and contradictory can in reality benefit organizational goals related to . Originality/value – This study puts forward a unique framework and perspective highlighting the importance of combinatory effects and the management of duality in organizations.
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