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 4: Towards a relational view of corporate entrepreneurship

Zeki Simsek and Ciaran Heavey


Simsek and Heavey regard corporate entrepreneurship (CE) as an organizational dynamic capability that requires considerable knowledge and resources. They develop a relational view of CE where firms use their alliances to gain the knowledge and skills essential to make CE successful. They argue that the portfolio of these alliances influences the effect of CE on a firm’s performance. The authors also theorize that this effect rises when the complementarity of the firm’s resource portfolio increases as well as its asset specificity, tacit knowledge and related first-mover advantages rises. They use data collected from the top management teams of 120 small to medium companies operating throughout New England to test these hypotheses. Simsek and Heavey find CE to positively impact firm performance. They also find the interaction of resource complementarity and asset specificity to be positively related to company performance, enhancing the effect of CE on firm performance. The interaction effect of CE and portfolio knowledge specificity is significant but negative. The interaction effect with first-mover advance is negative but lacks significance. Overall, Simsek and Heavey’s discussion and empirical findings support the proposition that alliances do more than fill gaps in a firm’s resources. Alliances also help support CE and increase its potency in affecting firm performance. However, the authors observe that not all alliance portfolios are alike in their effect on the CE–performance relationship. Their results, therefore, reinforce the view that organizations often need to go beyond their boundaries to garner the resources needed for CE—an activity that often suffers from resource scarcity and unevenness in the supply of these resources.

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