Handbook of Research on Corporate Entrepreneurship
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Handbook of Research on Corporate Entrepreneurship

Edited by Shaker A. Zahra, Donald O. Neubaum and James C. Hayton

Corporate entrepreneurship is about remaking organizations; it affects organizational cultures and systems, which, in turn, influence the magnitude, direction and content of corporate entrepreneurship activities. This Handbook hopes to synthesize what we know and clarify what we need to know about key issues such as strategic renewal, innovation and venturing activities within established companies, giving direction to future research.
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Chapter 2: Who is the corporate entrepreneur? Insights from opportunity discovery and creation theory

Henri Burgers and Vareska Van de Vrande


Burgers and van de Vrande recognize the important role of the individual agent in the pursuit of corporate venturing (CV). They review the literature and distill three different views of corporate entrepreneurs. The first is “outcome driven” where the focus is on the results of CE, without directly considering the individuals engaged in the process. This view ignores the individual and has tilted research to focus on formal CE activities. Entrepreneurship is a nexus between individuals and opportunities, and this view ignores this intimate and powerful link. The second view centers on the “context of CE” where individual behavior is defined and shaped by organizational realities such as level of autonomy and the support of middle managers. This view is important for separating corporate entrepreneurs who identify and pursue opportunities inside the firm from independent entrepreneurs who might define an opportunity and then pursue it externally. The third view is a more individual driven notion of CE. The authors then develop an integrative model that connects these three views, allowing the identification of seven different types of corporate entrepreneurs. Using data from the panel study of entrepreneurial dynamics (PSED), the authors show how these entrepreneurs differ in their human capital endowments and the characteristics of opportunities they pursue. This study highlights the critical value of human capital and understanding context in determining CE and those individuals who undertake these activities.

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