Implementing Intrapreneurship: A Structural and Cultural Approach

Present age organizations face a very complex and uncertain environment. In order to remain innovative and viable in the long run, many organizations are turning to “intrapreneurship.” However, what is intrapreneurship? How different it is from entrepreneurship? What can an organization do to promote intrapreneurship?

In the Graziadio Business Review article “Implementing Intrapreneurship: A Structural and Cultural Approach” the difference between entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship is first illustrated by defining the two terms formally. Entrepreneurship refers to the process of creating innovative new business ventures[1] or just of creating new business ventures.[2] An entrepreneur is the owner of such a business venture.[3] [4] [5] Intrapreneurship refers to the process of new venture creation, strategic renewal, and innovation by employees within an organization.[6] Intrapreneurs, then, are the employees of an organization who realize a creative idea and turn it into an innovation or new business venture.[7] [8] [9]

Then, the GBR article devotes the majority of its main content to the discussion of what an organization can do to promote intrapreneurship. Research has shown that given the right environment and amount of support, many employees can become intrapreneurs. To encourage intrapreneurial activities, it is proposed in the article that organizations have to make sure that the top management creates a clear vision that promotes and encourages innovation and communicates it clearly to all employees. In addition, support from all managers in an organisation is also necessary.

Next, to encourage intrapreneurship, an organization has to adopt either an organic structure, or to set up an independent intrapreneurial team or department, depending on each organization’s context and needs. In addition, the organization must also take measures to achieve a culture that is characterised by high trust and psychological safety, high justice and fairness, and high error and failure tolerance. Together, these organizational features shall form a solid foundation for intrapreneurship, and a cornerstone for organizational competitiveness.

[1] Frederick, H. H., and D. F. Kuratko, Entrepreneurship: Theory, Process, Practice, Asia-Pacific ed., 2nd ed., (Australia: Cengage Learning, 2010).

[2] Gartner, W. B., “‘Who is an Entrepreneur?’ is the Wrong Question,” Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 12, no. 2 (1989): 47-68.

[3] Davidsson, P., Researching Entrepreneurship, (New York: Springer, 2004).

[4] Gartner, W. B., “What Are We Talking About When We’re Talking About Entrepreneurship?” Journal of Business Venturing, 5, no. 1 (1990): 15-28.

[5] Rauch, A., and M. Frese, “Let’s Put the Person Back into Entrepreneurship Research: A Meta-Analysis on the Relationship Between Business Owners’ Personality Traits, Business Creation, and Success,” European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 16, no. 4 (2007): 353-385.

[6] Sharma, P. and J. J. Chrisman, “Toward a Reconciliation of the Definitional Issues in the Field of Corporate Entrepreneurship,” Entrepreneurship Theory Practice, 23, no. 3 (1999): 11-27.

[7] Anderson, N. R., and M. A. West, “Measuring Climate for Work Group Innovation: Development and Validation of the Team Climate Inventory” Journal of Organizational Behavior, 19, no. 3 (1998): 235-258.

[8] Frederick and Kuratko.

[9] Hulsheger, U. R., N. Anderson, and J. F. Salgado, “Team-Level Predictors of Innovation at Work: A Comprehensive Meta-Analysis Spanning Three Decades of Research” Journal of Applied Psychology, 94, no. 5 (2009): 1128-1145.

Author of the article
Graziadio Business Review
Graziadio Business Review is an online journal that delivers relevant business information and analysis for business, government, and non-profit managers. From accounting and finance to ethics and work/life balance, the Graziadio Business Review extends current business debates in new directions that you can use to advance your business and professional career.
More from The GBR Blog
A Blog on Blogging!

A Blog on Blogging!

Best Blog Practices Timely: The more relevant your topic to current events, the more hits you will receive. Valuable: Entries should promote knowledge, add insight, and provide valuable links to your readers. Concise: Every blog entry doesn’t need to be a 600-word essay. You can post photos, videos, links, PDFs, or anything that you think … Continued