Innovation through Intrapreneurship: The Road Less Travelled

Seshadri, D V R and Tripathy, A (2006) Innovation through Intrapreneurship: The Road Less Travelled. Vikalpa, 31 (1). pp. 17-30. ISSN 2395-3799

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The relentless pressures of competition stemming from globalization, technological changes, etc., today are increasingly buffeting organizations. One of the pathways for companies to weather these storms is through unleashing the entrepreneurial spirit latent in its employees enabling these employees to carve out new paths, initiate new ventures, defy the status quo in their organizations, and break fresh ground. There is an increasing body of knowledge relating to unleashing entrepreneurial energies in large organizations referred to as corporate entrepreneurship or intrapreneurship. Intrapreneurship is a major driver for organizational renewal or reinvention.This article seeks to understand the intrapreneurial mindset as opposed to the employee mindset. It is inextricably connected with leadership since it involves mobilizing teams of people towards a cause much greater than the individuals involved, often in the face of significant resistance from status quo preserving forces within and outside the organization.Intrapreneurship at any level (individual, group or organization) fundamentally involves taking ownership, i.e., operating with an entrepreneurial mindset. In the corporate context, since the person leading the reinvention is not an autonomous entrepreneur, he/she is more appropriately referred to as an intrapreneur. It is very unlikely that reinvention at any level can occur without this basic transformation of perspective from employee to psychological owner or intrapreneur. Intrapreneuring is not a path that is chosen by the vast majority of people in any profession since this path involves a lot more of the person than would be the case for a person operating with an ‘employee mindset.’ However, the reason it is important is that it is challenging, fulfilling, personally and professionally rewarding, and is urgently required by corporations—both big and small—the world over to thrive meaningfully in todays uncertain times.While the context in which this manifestation of entrepreneurial behaviour is enacted may vary (government, public sector, private sector, NGO, etc.), the fundamental fibre of the person who chooses this path is essentially similar. This article presents three interesting case studies from Tata Steel, a company that has sought to create an entrepreneurial climate in the organization over the last several years. Two of these relate to crashing project time and cost lines to create international records in the face of international technical collaborators affirming that this would not be possible in India. The third intrapreneurial episode relates to turning around a run-down manufacturing facility in the company to produce spectacular results. In the process, the authors have: drawn generic lessons from each of these case studiespresented the results of interviews with 30 practising managers on the facilitators and inhibitors for creating an intrapreneurial climate in large organizationshighlighted the perspectives of a few senior managers from the Indian IT industry on this very important source of innovation in large organizationstied together the three intrapreneurial episodes presented in this paper by attempting to understand the commonalities among the intrapreneurs.This article would be beneficial to Indian companies seeking to create an entrepreneurial climate and to professionals in these companies to motivate them to look at their work lives differently and to enable them to redefine their roles in their organizations.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The research article was published by the author with the affiliation of IIM Bangalore.
Subjects: Marketing
Date Deposited: 12 Apr 2019 09:42
Last Modified: 06 Jul 2023 21:19

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