Corporate entrepreneurship


The breakneck speed of technological development and changes in consumer behavior challenge organizations to develop their capabilities, businesses and business models in order to stay competitive. However, identifying and exploring new opportunities and developing new capabilities while simultaneously exploiting existing business opportunities and developing available capabilities is a tough challenge for any organization to handle. Utilizing corporate entrepreneurship is a possible strategic tool to solve such challenges and further facilitate a company´s development (Gavin and Levesque, 2006).

Corporate what?

Theories on entrepreneurship (or intrapreneurship) focus on the individual whereas the focal point of corporate entrepreneurship is on the organization. Thus, facilitating corporate entrepreneurship differs from the tried and true formulas beneficial for individual entrepreneurship (Kollmann and Stöckmann, 2008). The concept of corporate entrepreneurship generally refers to the development of new ideas and opportunities within large or established businesses, which directly lead to the improvement of organizational profitability, increased competitive advantage or a strategic renewal of an existing business (, 2015).

So how do organizations develop capabilities for corporate entrepreneurship?

Wolcott and Lippitz (2007) present 6 high-level tips to organizations who aim to embark on a new program for corporate entrepreneurship.

  1. Create a vision
  2. Choose objectives
  3. Neutralize nay-sayers
  4. Choose and support a corporate entrepreneurship model
  5. Aim for quick wins
  6. Evolve

1 ) Any change requiring people to cooperate needs a common goal or a vision worth striving for.

2 ) Is the objective to accelerate growth within existing divisions or is it to provide radical innovations? Maybe help facilitating a cultural change or even facilitating the entry into a new industry? By choosing an objective, it becomes easier for organizations to later choose a relevant corporate entrepreneurship model.

3 ) Nay-sayers on any organizational level can create barriers to the implementation of the chosen corporate entrepreneurship model. In order to mitigate the risk of internal sabotage by such actors excessive communication, getting everyone involved and creating a feeling of participation is necessary.

4 ) According to Wolcott and Lippitz (2007) there are 4 corporate entrepreneurship models to choose from:

corp entrI. The opportunist

II. The enabler

III. The producer

IV. The advocate

I ) All organizations can be seen as opportunist in the beginning of their existence. The model requires a creative and open climate where several people have the authority to approve ideas and where the responsibility of new ventures is diffused among all employees. No dedicated funding for new ventures exists within the model prior to the birth of the venture.

II ) In the enabler model there are dedicated resources in terms of time, money etc on new venture development. The new venture development is diffused among all employees and the model gives executives the possibility to identify future leaders. Furthermore, the enabler helps facilitate cultural transformation. In order for the enabler model to function clear idea selection criteria, executive involvement and access to funding as well as accessible communication channels are required. Google is an organization which applies the enabler model (Steiber, 2014).

III ) The provider model is useful when an organization aims at creating business in new areas such as entering a new industry. The model requires significant investments and human resources and is similar to creating a new department which should be self-sustaining in the future. Furthermore, the provide requires veteran leaders and gives managers a possibility to change or advance their career within a large organization.

IV ) The advocate model is characterized by limited but dedicated resources combined with focused ownership and responsibility. The characteristics create the base for accelerating growth and innovation in existing departments.

5 ) In order to gain credibility for the chosen model, easy and achievable goals should be the main priority in the beginning.

6 ) Once the chosen model is a part of the organization and credibility is deserved it becomes possible to focus on the evolution of the model thus allowing it to become more efficient and better fit your organization.


businessdictionary (2015) – (2015-08-04 12:33)

Garvin, D.A and Levesque, L. C. (2006). Meeting the challange of corporate entrepreneurship. Harvard Business Review

Kollmann, T and Stöckmann, C. (2008). Corporate entrepreneurship. In Wankel, C. 21st Centrury management: A refrence handbook (p11-21). Thousand Oaks.

Tushman, M. L. and O´Reilly, C.A. (2004). The Ambidextrous Organization. Harvard Business Review.

Wolcott, R. C and Lippitz, M.J. (2007). The four models of corporate entrepreneurship. MIT Sloan management review.


2 thoughts on “Corporate entrepreneurship

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s