October 2018 Business SCAN
Entrepreneurship represents the capacity to create, develop, organise and ultimately manage a successful business. Whilst the term has become widely synonymous with the development of new and emergent business ideas, entrepreneurship is also a process which can be utilised to enhance processes within the structures of existing organisations.
In the world of modern business, organisations often find themselves embroiled in a corporate arms race, with the ultimate goal of gaining a competitive advantage and producing superior services and products. For an organisation’s vision to be realised, those operating at various levels within a business framework must be willing to demonstrate courage, take risks and most importantly, be innovative. Within existing research, engagement in entrepreneurial behaviours and strategies have come to be increasingly lauded as a tool for positive organisational growth, enhanced workplace performance and increased financial return. More specifically, through demonstrating corporate entrepreneurship – behaviours that help reshape and rejuvenate a business – organisations become more readily able to identify and develop creative and industrious strategic renewal strategies, which in turn can keep organisations at the forefront of innovation.
When considering your approach to corporate entrepreneurship, research suggests you are likely to fall into one of four categories:
- The Opportunist: The organisation has a specific or structured approach to innovation. New strategies may come to fruition through ideas generated by existing members of the organisation. These ideas are then put forward to senior members of the organisation and implemented.
- The Enabler: The organisation already actively encourages entrepreneurship and innovation amongst its employees. Resources (including time and money) may be provided in an effort to generate new ideas which will benefit the organisation. Google is a prime example of an “enabling” organisation.
- The Producer: The organisation develops and oversees a dedicated group of corporate entrepreneurs, with the intention of promoting large scale innovation. The producer may also encourage wider collaboration in an effort to generate new and exiting business ideas.
- The Advocate: The organisation will work with specific departments/units of an organisation in an effort to reinvigorate specific sections of the business. The advocate strongly endorses entrepreneurship; however, funding will come from the budget of each department.
Assessing your Capacity for Corporate Entrepreneurship
To maximise knowledge sharing and learning within an organisation, recent research has highlighted the importance of three key variables: Motivation, Opportunity and Ability.
Question: Is my team motivated and willing to act in a manner that will help facilitate and encourage innovation?
Answer: Create a working environment which takes into consideration the key beliefs, attitudes and values of all employees. When appropriate, create an environment whichencourages friendly competition and rewards good work. In addition, ensure employeesare personally fulfilled in their work, whilst also being provided with opportunities to share knowledge and expertise with other team members.
Question: Has the organisation created an environment which provides opportunities for innovative action?
Answer: Ensure employees are provided with opportunities to share new knowledge and ideas. Online platforms, workplace innovation meetings and entrepreneurial initiatives all represent promising avenues for organisations to explore.
Question: What are the key talents and proficiencies of my team members and how are they being utilised?
Answer: Ensure you take time to get to know members of your team on an individual level. This will help you identify and utilise their key strengths. By doing so, you can draw upon their expertise to enhance the performance and reputation of your organisation. Additionally, leaders should also reflect on their own ability to create continual knowledge and learning opportunities.
Sources: Kuratko, D. F., Hornsby, J. S., & Covin, J. G. (2014). Diagnosing a firm’s internal environment for corporate entrepreneurship. Business Horizons, 57(1), 37-47.; Kuratko, D. F., Hornsby, J. S., & Hayton, J. (2015). Corporate entrepreneurship: the innovative challenge for a new global economic reality. Small Business Economics, 45(2), 245-253.; Turner, T., & Pennington, W. W. (2015). Organizational networks and the process of corporate entrepreneurship: how the motivation, opportunity, and ability to act affect firm knowledge, learning, and innovation. Small Business Economics, 45(2), 447-463.; Wolcott, R. C., & Lippitz, M. J. (2007). The four models of corporate entrepreneurship. MIT Sloan Management Review, 49(1), 75.
Generate an overall corporate entrepreneurship score for your organisation. Based on your score, what needs to be done within your organisation to further promote corporate entrepreneurship.
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