According to Pinchot (1984), “intrapreneurs are dreamers who do; those who take hands on responsibility for creating innovation of any kind, within a business”. He coined this word to refer to those individuals who turn any idea into a profitable venture while still working for a large organization. These organizations offer financial and resource support the intrapreneur and in turn, they come up with new products and innovations to increase profits for that organization, corporation or company. Pinchot (1984), defined intraprenuers as those individuals who act as leaders and at the same time employees of large corporations.
Any business typically undergoes seven stages during its life cycle. The initial stage is referred to as the seed stage when the business is just an idea or a thought. Consequently, the start-up stage follows where the business comes into existence (Richardson, 2013). The third stage is the growth stage during which the business begins to earn profits despite challenges such as completion. The established stage follows which marks maturity of the business characterized by high sales and maximum profits. The expansion stage is the fifth stage where the business expands its markets and inreases distribution.
The decline stage is experienced when the profits and sales begin to decline leading to the exit stage when the business finally shuts down. As businesses evolve, they eventually lose the entrepreneurship culture. As much as entrepreneurship can be viewed as a motivating factor, it can at times leas to unhealthy competition of the limited resources (Kuratko, 2007). Those ideas that are already actualized require a lot of resources to keep them running. This means that enough resources may not be available for a business to venture into another entrepreneurial idea. Most business owners also lack the motivation to further cultivate the entrepreneurial culture once one idea becomes successful as they focus on perfecting it further.
In the 1980s and the 1990s, intrapreneurship was merely viewed as a strategy to generate additional profits and advantageous competition for corporations and organizations. Today, it is more of a strategic approach to management, an innovation tool as well as method of ideal corporate positioning (Ireland & Webb, 2007). Constant innovation is very essential to organizations. This is because they help to increase productivity as well as efficiency in the organization’s activities hence saving on time and resources. Innovation also helps an organization to its set goals by facilitating business growth.
There are four models of corporate entrepreneurship. The enabler model involves providing the required funding in terms of capital for the venture to an entrepreneur. The producer model on the other hand is responsible for establishing and supporting the entire service group. Thirdly, opportunist has no specific approach to the venture but instead creates both external and internal networks by driving the selected concept. Finally, in the advocate model, the organization provides an entrepreneur with limited budget to create a new business (McGraw Hill, 2009).
According to Dr. Kuratko (2009), an entrepreneurship mindset involves a very dynamic process involving change, vision, and creation which requires energy as well as passion in implementing and also creating solutions and new ideas. It requires one to recognize and identify an opportunity in situations where other people see contradiction and chaos instead. An entrepreneur’s mindset doesn’t just focus on one particular big idea but is instead predisposed to implementing many new ideas at the same time and eventually selecting the best one. They usually anticipate more than what others view to be impractical.
An entrepreneurial mindset takes risk on ventures that others may think to be unwise. They are dreamers and believe in the impossible. These risks are however calculated and arrived at after carrying out research. They are able to recognize opportunities, think critically and eventually come up with an innovation to solve a particular problem (Kuratko, 2009). Organization structure contributes greatly into nurturing entrepreneurial culture as it defines how assignments are divided and coordinated. Organization leaders should understand that authoritarian leadership and adopting an overly directive approach can cripple creativity.
Organizations should adopt inclusive culture where there is an open line of communication where employees express their views freely. Ambitious thinking should be applauded, valued and encouraged (Richardson, 2013). Leaders in organizations should not focus so much on specialization as it hinders innovation. Through experience of different activities, employees become more creative because they think differently and acquire various skills. In some organizations, the chain of command is usually too long which makes it hard for entrepreneurs to quickly and immediately seize opportunities.
One of the main issues that hinder growth in large companies is the fear of failure. This is because the company leaders fear to invest in new innovations or entrepreneurial ideas. Implementation of change usually requires a lot of resource allocation which makes management a bit hesitant to invest and fail. This forces them to play safe and be hesitant to change as they fear that they may not make enough earnings to recover the investment. Startups fear failure especially when they don’t know where to start due to lack of adequate information. They feel that they lack the expertise, funding in terms of capital as well as a ready customer base to begin a business venture.
Companies pursue corporate innovative activities in a bid to keep up with the changing trends in the market (Kuratko, 2009). Amazon for example is focused on being customer centric. This enables the customers to select what they prefer from a wide range of refurbished, unique, new as well as old products and services. Strategic entrepreneurship is a unique tool that companies are using to attract more customers. Facebook would apply this tool by introducing new features that are attractive to the youth. Apple can offer internship programs to mentor young entrepreneurs. Amazon can invite young entrepreneurs to market their products in the platform and in turn earn some revenue from that.
Facebook has adopted a business model which gains earnings from expenses which users, developers and marketers incur for them to access a better interface. Additionally, it also earns from advertisements posted on the social media site. Amazon being e-commerce oriented is focusing on expansion and growth to maximize profits by building very unique brands so as to stand out in the market. They also partner with other companies so as to boost their online business platform. Apple on the other hand invests more in unique technological hardware which ensures that they have the best tablets, phones, laptops in the market. This ensures that they establish themselves well in the highly competitive market.
Innovation paradox occurs when company leaders complain of little or no innovation while employees on the other hand argue that the same leaders aren’t receptive of new ideas and are instead hostile and unaccommodating (Dixon, 2005). This reflects a conflicting approach to entrepreneurship where none of the parties feels satisfied with the input and interest of the other.
Gifford Pinchot III: Intraprenuering: Why You Don’t Have to Leave the Corporation to Become an Entrepreneur 1985,New York: Harper and Row. 368 pages
Ireland, R. D., Covin, J. G.,& Kuratko, D. F. (2009). Conceptualizing Corporate Entrepreneurship Strategy. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 33(1), 19-46. doi:10.1111/j.1540-6520.2008.00279.x
Valdez, M. E., & Richardson, J. (2013). Institutional Determinants of Macro-Level Entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 37(5), 1149-1175. doi: 10.1111/etap.12000
Wolcott, R. C., & Lippitz, M. J. (2009). Grow from within: Mastering corporate entrepreneurship and innovation. New York: McGraw-Hill Professional.
Dixon, P. (2005) Building a Better Business.137
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