Entrepreneurial Business and Society
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Entrepreneurial Business and Society

Frontiers in European Entrepreneurship Research

Edited by Friederike Welter, Robert Blackburn, Elisabet Ljunggren and Bjørn Willy Åmo

Entrepreneurial Business and Society summarizes contemporary research in the field of entrepreneurship and small business and explores the interplay between the entrepreneur, the entrepreneurial firm and society.
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Chapter 8: Intrapreneurial risk-taking in public healthcare: challenging existing boundaries

Frontiers in European Entrepreneurship Research

Jarna Heinonen, Ulla Hytti and Eeva Vuorinen


Healthcare organisations across Europe face enormous challenges to meet the needs of the ageing population. This is highly prevalent in Scandinavia, particularly in Finland, where the so-called Nordic welfare society is strongly supported by government and provides citizens with access to a wide variety of public healthcare services (Henrekson 2005). A number of recent changes call for a new approach to organising healthcare services. Firstly, the public healthcare sector faces the challenge of finding new ways to organise quality and customer-oriented services to cope with shrinking budgets and the increasing demands and changing needs of the population. Healthcare organisations are expected to develop more and better services through organisational renewal and to create new, innovative services while increasing labour productivity (Valovirta and Hyvönen 2009). In addition, the emergence of private sector clinics has influenced the market for services and labour alike. As a result, public sector healthcare organisations find their working practices challenged by both reduced resources and difficulties in attracting competent staff (Åmo 2006; Eskildsen et al. 2004). Innovative action and organisational change are, therefore, crucial for healthcare organisations and the concept of intrapreneurship is highly topical to organisations open to taking innovative steps to develop their activities and to improve their performance. ‘Intrapreneurship’ refers to the practice of developing new ventures and strategic renewal within an existing organisation in order to exploit new opportunities and generate economic value (Guth and Ginsberg 1990; Ireland et al. 2009).

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