Frontiers in European Entrepreneurship Research
Frontiers in European Entrepreneurship series
Edited by Friederike Welter, David Smallbone and Anita Van Gils
Chapter 9: Promoting Corporate Entrepreneurship Within a Large Company: An In-depth Case Study
Olga Belousova and Benoit Gailly 1. INTRODUCTION For modern companies it has become an imperative to innovate and to be different in order to outsmart one another (Johnston and Bate 2003). Thus, continuous innovation and organic growth appear on the agenda of many firms, and corporate entrepreneurship (CE) receives intense attention as an activity important for firms’ vitality (Dess et al. 2003). A lot of research has focused on how being entrepreneurially oriented, that is being innovative, risk-taking and ready to pioneer, may contribute to firms’ financial performance and strategic value (Covin and Slevin 1989; Dess et al. 1997; Lumpkin and Dess 2001; Wiklund and Shepherd 2005). Also, from the literature we have a good understanding regarding antecedents of CE (Birkinshaw 1999; Burgers et al. 2009; Heller 1999; Hornsby et al. 2002; Kuratko et al. 1990; Marvel et al. 2007; Zahra and Covin 1995). Nevertheless, continual appeals from scholars (Dess et al. 2003; Hornsby et al. 2002; Kuratko et al. 2005; Stopford and BadenFuller 1994) highlight a need for more in-depth understanding of the activities of individual corporate entrepreneurs. Why? Imagine a large industrial company with a traditional product and well defined procedures: at one point in time one of its business units (BU) comes up with an entrepreneurial initiative of introducing a new production process. Just two years later the team wins several innovation contests. Another two years and the BU’s management makes entrepreneurship one of its strategic priorities. How can we explain this change in the BU’s strategic...
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