Entrepreneurship And Corporate Entrepreneurship As Social Constructs Commerce Essay



This research focuses on entrepreneurship and corporate entrepreneurship as social constructs and then progress onto categories of corporate entrepreneurship. I propose a theoretical model of corporate entrepreneurship which is an attempt to include all of the labels of this process that I found in my search, and the fundamentals of their meaning. The model was developed from several attempts to make sense of the research literature and was necessary to provide me with a sense of clarity concerning the labels used within the field. I then explore contributions in terms of the individual, team and organizational levels of corporate entrepreneurship attempting to critique and raising questions for future research agendas.

Reviewing the Literature

To help explain the meaning of the term corporate entrepreneurship, it is helpful to begin with the root or parent term of 'start-up' entrepreneurship. The Frenchman Richard Cantillon (1734) is one of the earliest writers in research literature who considers start-up entrepreneurship. He describes it as self-employment with unknown salary (translated into English by Pizarro, Real and Sousa, 2003). However, it is the economist, Joseph Schumpeter who is accredited as the 'founding father' of entrepreneurship within the business studies literature due to his 'Schumpeterian Innovation Concept' (1934). This concept is described by Schumpeter as: "cover[ing] the following five cases: (1) The introduction of a new good - that is one with which consumers are not yet familiar - or of a new quality of a good. (2) The introduction of a new method of production, that is one not yet tested by experience in the branch of manufacture concerned, which need by no means be founded upon a discovery scientifically new, and can also exist in a new way of handling a commodity commercially. (3) The opening of a new market that is a market into which the particular branch of manufacture of the country in question has not previously entered, whether or not this market has existed before. (4) The conquest of a new source of supply of raw materials or half-manufactured goods, again irrespective of whether this source already exists or whether it has first to be created. (5) The carrying out of the new organization of any industry, like the creation of a monopoly position (for example through trustification) or the breaking up of a monopoly position."(Schumpeter, 1934: 66)

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In summary, Schumpeter (1934) sees the entrepreneur as a person, who, through new combinations creates new forms of products, processes, markets, and organizational forms. Since Schumpeter's early contribution, the term entrepreneurship has evolved and today its meaning is rather more abstract and attributable to either an individual or group that identifies, shapes and develops business opportunities, and then transforms these into successful enterprises. There is a substantial amount of research within the entrepreneurship literature that explores the characteristics and attributes of the entrepreneur. Some of the more established include: Entrepreneurs are creators, creators of ideas, jobs and economic value (Thornberry, 2001) Entrepreneurs are achievement orientated, like to take responsibility for decisions and dislike repetitive routine work (Kets de Vries, 2000). Entrepreneurs may be risk-takers (Knight, 1921), they may give more weight to the importance of not missing out on an opportunity than they do the likelihood of a new venture failing (Dickinson & Giglierano, 1986). Entrepreneurs have a high need for autonomy (Sexton and Bowman, 1985) and fear of external control (Smith, 1967).

Corporate Entrepreneurship

The term corporate entrepreneurship is much more recent with Pinchot (1985) claiming to be the first to coin the term. It is described by Pinchot (1985) as start-up entrepreneurship turned inward. Otherwise stated, corporate entrepreneurship is entrepreneurship that occurs within larger organisations as opposed to that associated with new start-up enterprises.

Here corporate entrepreneurship is seen as being different from entrepreneurship due to the context within which the entrepreneurship is occurring. It could be argued that entrepreneurship is a cognitive or trait function and is not determined by where this cognition takes place. As this research project is firmly situated within a social constructivist epistemology, I argue that the organizational environment and the interactions, relationships and meanings construed by all within may impact upon and affect entrepreneurship therefore making a contextual difference to that of traditional start-up entrepreneurship.

Thornberry (2001: 526) describes the problem associated with being the large organization:

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"Many large companies are seeking ways of reinventing or revitalizing their entrepreneurial roots. These companies often long for some of the spark, innovation, speed and risk that they once had, but which have slowly eroded under the weight of size, bureaucracy, complex processes and hierarchy".

Subsequently, corporate entrepreneurship is seen by many researchers and practitioners within the field as an antidote to this staleness associated with being 'the large organization' in the new millennium. So what challenges are faced by such 'stale', large organizations? One challenge is that of improvements in technology. Technology has made it easier for smaller organizations to compete with their industries giants, and while these David's may not have access to the financial and non-financial resources of their Goliaths, they are able to react quickly, adapt quickly, innovate and take risks. A frequently cited case highlighting the possible success of small business entrepreneurships in competing with larger well-established organizations is that of the electronic bookstore Amazon.com. Amazon has forced traditional bookstore companies such as Barnes & Noble (an American bookstore company) and W. H. Smiths to enter into e-commerce in order to remain competitive. Jobber (2001: 472) examines the impact of the Internet on marketing and lists new forms of competitive advantage that the Internet can offer newer entrepreneurships:

"Lower costs and prices (Easyjet is a successful entrepreneurial flight operator that offers competitively priced flights through the internet).

"Instant response (Lastminute. com is a successful entrepreneurial web-based facility for buying various kinds of cheap last minute tickets).

"Greater product variety (Amazon. com).

"Product customization (Acumin corp. is an entrepreneurial web based vitamin company that blends vitamins, herbs and minerals according to specific customer instruction.

Jones-Evans (2000) offers further internal and external organizational factors to try and explain the growing interest in the field of corporate entrepreneurship (2000: 243):

The blurring of boundaries between the formal and informal labor markets, with serious consequences for labor mobility and job security, especially for white collar workers.

A change in attitudes towards entrepreneurship, with higher degree of individualism, particularly among the middle classes who make up the professional workers within many large organizations.

The technological revolution predominantly in computing and information services and agriculture.

Economic uncertainties leading to changing and unstable market conditions.

Pressures on the manufacturing sector to discard unnecessary overheads and externalize previously internalized services.

With such promises of regenerative outcomes, corporate entrepreneurship has attracted audiences across many disciplines including psychology, sociology, organizational behavior and corporate strategy. Below, I have adapted a model originally developed by Howard Stevenson (2000) to illustrate why those from academia and strategic practioners' interest in the corporate entrepreneurship phenomenon has and still is growing. Stevenson's model was originally used to examine six critical dimensions of business practice in terms of a range of managerial behaviors (at one end of Stevenson's continuum is entrepreneurial type behavior, and at the other end is administrative behavior). Four of the six dimensions that Stevenson describes are particularly relevant in attempting to explain the increased interest in corporate entrepreneurship and are:

Strategic orientation (Factors that drive the formulation of strategy).

Commitment to opportunity (Includes identifying and pursuing opportunities).

Management structure (Tension between traditional authoritative management and flexible management).

Reward philosophy (Tension between reward based on performance and reward based on responsibility).

Rapid changes in technology and diminishing opportunity streams are pushing organizations towards harnessing the creativity and innovativeness associated with start-up entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs are also associated with their speed in decision-making and propensity for risk-taking (Knight. 1921), and it is these qualities that are drawing organizations towards corporate entrepreneurship so as to better handle shorter decision windows and manage risk. Changes in management structures due to pressures such as increasing demands for flexibility and increased needs for communicating across departments push an organization towards adopting a more entrepreneurial stance, whereby flexibility is maximized through flat and informal structures and employees have high levels of autonomy. Finally, according to Stevenson, there are a growing number of employees that seek remuneration based upon their contribution within teams and organizations, rather than on their performance. Again, such changes are pushing organizations towards adopting a remuneration philosophy that rewards entrepreneurial activity and success. However, the tensions that pull an organization to adapting a more administrative stance are compelling. Executives are increasingly being demanded to achieve return on their investments over pursuing, potentially risky opportunities. Managers having increased responsibility and workloads can often make decision processes lengthy and time consuming. In order to function, large organizations require clearly defined authority, and subsequently demand routine and formalized management systems-within-systems.

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These intricate chains of sub-systems, however, are more often than not complex and they perpetuate the inertia within the organization. Finally it is extremely difficult to determine the actual and exact value of an individual's contribution in a team situation for remuneration purposes and a likewise a team's effort expended in an organizational push. This model may raise many more questions that are beyond the parameters of this literature review, however, what I hope it does provide is an indication of why academics and practitioners alike desire to understand corporate entrepreneurship and why its empirical exploration could be useful for the strategic development of private and public sectors sector organizations.

Corporate Entrepreneurship versus the Entrepreneurial Organisation

What is corporate entrepreneurship? I will begin by introducing, and discussing some typical definitions of corporate entrepreneurship found within the research literature, then I will explain the terms corporate entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial posture, and the entrepreneurial organization. With assurances of regenerative outcomes, this relatively recent management sub-field has attracted audiences and contributions from across many business disciplines.

Subsequently definitions can very considerably in their approach and desired outcome. Broadly speaking, I have identified two streams of definition. Those that lean more towards a strategic management lens which view corporate entrepreneurship as a form of strategic renewal. I observe that definitions from this approach are usually associated with research that tries to explain corporate entrepreneurship through nomothetic methodologies. Secondly there are those that lean towards an organizational behavior approach that acknowledges the interactions of the people working in and around the organization's many structures and sub-structures as being an important factor in understanding corporate, entrepreneurial behavior. This stream is typically associated with research that addresses corporate entrepreneurship using ideographic methodologies. However, the boundaries between these two streams are often blurred within the research literature and some definitions can partly fit into both.

Some researchers see corporate entrepreneurship as an extension of start-up entrepreneurship. Pinchot (1985) describes corporate entrepreneurs (he introduces the label intra-corporate entrepreneur or intrapreneur for short) as 'dreamers' who participate in 'entrepreneurship turned inward'. Stevenson and Jarillo (1990: 23), build upon Pinchot's behavioral perspective, and define corporate entrepreneurship in relation to opportunity and risk-taking:

"Entrepreneurship is a process by which individuals -either on their own or inside organizations- pursues opportunities without regard to the resources they currently control".

Stevenson and Jarillo (1990) use the term opportunity to describe a future situation that is deemed desirable and feasible. They argue that opportunity is relative since opportunities may vary among individuals and for each individual over time. Stevenson and Jarillo (1990: 23) suggest that 'this behavioral, situational definition fits well with common experience that the level of entrepreneurship varies across the life of the individual or even across the different activities of an individual in a given moment.' Covin (1999: 47) highlights that innovation is the single common theme underlying all forms (and definitions) of corporate entrepreneurship. However, he advises caution explaining that:

"The presence of innovation per se is insufficient to label a firm entrepreneurial. Rather, it is suggested that this label be reserved for firms that use innovation as a mechanism to redefine or rejuvenate themselves, their positions within markets and industries, or the competitive arenas in which they compete."

Covin's definition above epitomizes those definitions offered by those leaning towards the strategic management lens. These contributions tend to draw upon the early Schumpeterian Innovation Concept (quoted at the beginning of this chapter) describing corporate entrepreneurship in terms of `new combinations'. Similar definitions are offered by Burgelman (1984), Covin and Slevin (1991) and Russell (1999). For example, Burgelman (1984: 154) states:

"Corporate entrepreneurship involves extending the firm's domain of competence and corresponding opportunity set through internally generated new resource combinations."

Building on this, still within the strategic management lens, corporate entrepreneurship has been defined in terms of a set of three behaviors: innovation, risk-taking and pro-activeness (Covin and Slevin, 1991: Miller, 1983: Miller and Friesen, 1978,1982: Zhara and Garvis, 2000). As Miller describes (1983: 771):

"An entrepreneurial firm is one that engages in product-market innovation, undertakes somewhat risky ventures, and is the first to come up with `proactive' innovation."

Zahra and Garvis (2000: 471) describe corporate entrepreneurship as "the sum of a company's innovation, risk-taking and pro-activeness. These activities usually seek to increase the firm's innovativeness, adaptation and agile strategic responses to changes in the external environment. "

Compared with the number of definitions from the strategic management lens, I found that there are fewer definitions that attempt to describe corporate entrepreneurship through the organizational behavior lens. Those I found within the literature share similar patterns to those from the strategic management lens, for example most of the definitions link corporate entrepreneurship to innovation:

"Corporate entrepreneurship attempts to develop an internal entrepreneurial spirit, philosophy, and structure that will produce a higher than average number of innovations." (Daft: 1992,259)

Furthermore, there are definitions that view corporate entrepreneurship in terms of a set of behaviors. Within the strategic management lens these behaviors are pro-activeness, risk-taking and innovation, however Morris and Paul (1987) from the organizational behavioral lens, define corporate entrepreneurship in terms of encouraging creativity, flexibility and supporting risk.

Thomson and McNamara (2001) define corporate entrepreneurship drawing heavily from the work of Stopford and Baden-fuller (1994). Stopford and Baden Fuller's work will be discussed later. Even though they do not provide a definition themselves, they identify five attributes required by organisations for corporate entrepreneurship. These attributes are: pro-activeness (strategic management lens), aspirations beyond current ability (based on Schumpeter Innovation Concept), team-orientation (organizational behavior lens), capability to resolve dilemmas (drawing from Schumpeterian Innovation Concept) and learning capability (organisational behaviour lens). Based on this dynamic set of attributes, I feel that Thomson and McNamara have provided the field with one of the most inclusive definitions to date, and this is how I view corporate entrepreneurship:

"Corporate entrepreneurship involves teams within a firm led by intrapreneurs or corporate champions who promote entrepreneurial behavior inside large organizations, proactively engaging in risky projects that seek to create new, innovative, administrative procedures, products and services that facilitate organizational renewal and growth." (Thomson and McNamara, 2001 p. 671)

Their definition considers corporate entrepreneurship at the individual (intrapreneurs) team and organizational level. It includes the role of sponsors, or champions in supporting corporate entrepreneurial activity. The definition incorporates the three attributes frequently cited from the strategic management lens literature, pro-activeness, risk-taking and innovation. Furthermore it specifies that corporate entrepreneurial activity may be administrative, procedural, a product or a service, and that the renewal is at the organizational (not necessarily strategic) level. Extending the notion of corporate entrepreneurship further, Covin and Slevin (1991) introduce the term 'entrepreneurial posture'. The term 'entrepreneurial posture' draws from the Schumpeterian Innovation Concept (1934) and the work of Miller (1983). Organizations with entrepreneurial postures are described as those in which particular behavioural patterns are recurring:

"In short, firms with entrepreneurial postures are risk taking, innovative, and proactive. They are willing to take on high-risk projects with chances of very high returns, and are bold and aggressive in pursuing opportunities. Entrepreneurial organizations often initiate actions to which competitors respond, and are frequently first to market with new product offerings. In support of this strategic orientation, entrepreneurial firms characteristically emphasise technological leadership and research development." (Covin & Slevin 1991: 7-8)

Another label I have found within the literature to describe entrepreneurial posture is entrepreneurial organization. Both terms are used interchangeably. Stevenson and Jarillo (1990) define an entrepreneurial organization as (1990: 23) 'that which pursues opportunity, regardless of resources currently controlled'. Both terms are suggestive of an organization that is at its highest state of corporate entrepreneurship, perhaps in reality an unachievable position.

Attributes of Corporate Entrepreneurship

Both streams of definitions discussed earlier identify specific constructs or attributes of corporate entrepreneurship. It is important to define and describe each of these attributes and the context with which they are referred to in the research literature, before exploring the various forms of corporate entrepreneurship. The strategic management lens definitions provide us with three attributes: innovation, proactiveness and risk-taking. The organizational behavior lens provides us with another two, namely: creativity and flexibility. Finally, Stopford and Baden-Fuller (1994), propose four more attributes that are common to all forms of corporate entrepreneurship and that underpin a definition offered by Thomson and McNamara (2001): Aspirations beyond current ability, team-orientation, capability to resolve dilemmas and learning capability. Given the limitations of this study only the construct common to all three, which is innovation, will be described briefly here.

Rogers (1962) explores `diffusion of innovations' in terms of social systems. He defines social systems as (1962: 14)

"a population of individuals who are functionally differentiated and engaged in collective problem solving behavior. The members of the social system are individuals, although these individuals may represent informal groups, industrial firms, or schools."

His work is based upon six major research traditions: anthropology, early sociology, rural sociology, education, industrial and medical sociology. Rogers' work has implications for a number of area within business research including, HRM, marketing, entrepreneurship and organizational behavior (including change). There are those contributions from academic researchers that attempt to understand the corporate entrepreneurship process and associated behaviors (corporate entrepreneurship), and contributions from practitioners that attempt to prescribe a toolkit to achieve an organization that has reached the highest desired state of entrepreneurship, a state of Utopia in term of entrepreneurial organization. As with 'the learning organization', contributions from practitioners may lack the critical objectivity and academic robustness of those academics who contribute to the corporate entrepreneurship subfield.

Classification-based Typologies of Corporate Entrepreneurship

There are many different labels that are used in the research literature to describe forms of corporate entrepreneurship. Similarly, there are a number of researchers who have developed corporate entrepreneurship typologies (an attempt to describe corporate entrepreneurship by breaking it down into themed 'types'). Before introducing and critiquing the many different labels I found in the literature, I will introduce and critique the aforementioned classification typologies.

Within the research literature there are seven key classification typologies of corporate entrepreneurship. These models attempt to describe corporate entrepreneurship, by breaking them down into themed parts. For example Covin (1999: 49) describes: "Having defined CE as the presence of innovation plus the presence of the objective of rejuvenating or purposefully redefining organizations, markets or industries in order to create or sustain competitive superiority, it is possible to envision at least four forms of this phenomenon. These forms will be labeled sustained regeneration, organizational rejuvenation, strategic renewal, and domain redefinition. Significantly, all four CE forms are defined by at least one potential basis for competitive advantage, albeit some more clearly then others".

Schollhammer (1982) proposed five broad categories of' internal corporate entrepreneurship which lie labeled: administrative, opportunistic, imitative, acquisitive and incubative. Each of these themes represents a strategic form of corporate entrepreneurship, and poses different challenges to the organization.

Vesper (1984) in his investigation into the 'faces' of corporate entrepreneurship initially identified eight themes: New strategic direction, initiative from below. Autonomous business unit creation, ordinary new product development, acquisitions, joint ventures, venture groups or divisions and independent spin-offs (or new start-ups).

However, Vesper centered his research on the first three (initiative from below, new strategic direction and autonomous business unit creation.) Vesper conducted semi-structured interviews and found that respondents saw initiative from below, new strategic direction and autonomous business unit creation as the most characteristic of entrepreneurship. Vesper does not clearly explain in his study how respondents were selected, and their position and role within the organizations. I raise attention to the possibility that perceptions of corporate entrepreneurship may vary considerably between different organizational groups (departmental, technical, venture, hierarchical, cultural).

Ginsberg and Hay's (1994) work builds on research from Botkin and Matthews (1992) and categorizes corporate entrepreneurship into four strategic categories: Intrapreneuring, internal corporate venturing, merger and acquisition and entrepreneurial partnership. Stopford and Baden-Fuller (1994) examine corporate entrepreneurship as a strategic approach to management, rather than a potentially ad-hoc occurrence within a corporate setting, as do Ginsberg and Hay (1994). In their study, Stopford and Baden-Fuller identify three forms of corporate entrepreneurship: new business venturing, organizational renewal and frame-breaking change.

Covin's (1999) approach in proposing a typology for corporate entrepreneurship stands out as being more academically robust and thorough in its methodology, even though it is discussion based and has not as yet been empirically tested. Covin (1999) lays out a criterion that each one of his 'forms are defined by at least one potential basis for competitive advantage, albeit some more clearly than others' (p49). He assesses his typology using criteria proposed by Hunt (1983: 355) for evaluating classification schemata. The modes identified by Covin (1999) are: Sustained regeneration, organizational rejuvenation, strategic renewal and domain redefinition. Thornberry's

(2001) typology draws from key management texts, such as Pinchot's (1985) 'Intrapreneuring' and Stopford & Baden-Fuller's (1994) 'Industry Rule-bending'. From an in-depth literature review, eighteen different labels have been found that are used to describe forms of corporate entrepreneurship.

Types and Levels and Orientations of Corporate Entrepreneurship

The next section looks at the different forms of corporate entrepreneurship found from an in-depth review of the research literature. This list is not exhaustive, and there may be several more forms within the literature that have not been identified here. There are two streams of corporate entrepreneurship that stem from the strategic level: those that are internally orientated and those that are externally orientated - i. e. those that occur within the organization or externally to the organization -in its environment.

Covin (1999: 48) discusses the problems that arise due to these grey areas within the literature, with reference to the pursuit of competitive advantage. 'Part of the problem in trying to infer from the literature why corporate entrepreneurship works is the fact that while there is general agreement that firms per se can be entrepreneurial… there is no consensus on what it means to be entrepreneurial. This situation is exacerbated by the proliferation of labels for entrepreneurial phenomena in organisations. Thus, when management theorists talk about CE, they are often talking about different phenomena. And with ambiguity surrounding the nature of the CE construct, it is not surprising that a general understanding or theory of why CE often creates competitive advantage has failed to emerge.'

These ambiguities can lead to several problems for researchers. Firstly, it takes time to unpick and dissect the confusing and somewhat conflicting literature, before critical discussion or investigations can begin. Secondly, differences in interpreting the literature could lead to incorrect research, and subsequently incorrect practice. Thirdly, it makes accumulative research more problematic and open to further misinterpretation.

On a more positive note, there seems to be much more agreement concerning the meaning and the characteristics underpinning each of Vesper's (1984): ordinary new product development, venture groups (or divisions), joint ventures, acquisitions, independent spin-offs (or new start-ups) than there are with the other forms of corporate entrepreneurship he identifies and classifies. These terms are familiar to both business academics and business practitioners.

New Strategic Direction

New Strategic Direction is cited by Vesper (1984) from the Strategic Planning Institute (1982). 'In their application it presumed newness to management of any two of (1) product, (2) market, (3) technology, plus the notion of current investment being made in the interest of future rather than immediate returns; not being simply a product line extension, and being perceived by customers and competitors as a new entrant in the market.' (1984: 294)

New strategic direction occurs from the strategic level of an organization. Drawing from the Schumpeterian Innovation concept, it may include any of the combinations cited in the above, and both individuals and teams can be involved within the process.

Initiative from Below

Initiative from Below is defined by Vesper (1984) as involving: 'employee initiative from below in the organization to undertake something new. An innovation which is created by subordinates without being asked, expected, or perhaps even given permission by higher management to do so.' (1984: 295)

Initiative from below describes an unofficial form of corporate entrepreneurship that may be generated by individuals or teams of individuals within the organization.

Initiative from below includes Pinchot's (1985) interpretation of intrapreneurship and bootleg group projects, commonly referred to in the literature as skunkworks (Peters, 1983: Kanter (1988). Initiative from below also fits into Covin's (1999) sustained regeneration. Initiative from below by definition does not occur from the strategic level, or involve formal strategy.

Autonomous Business Unit Creation

Autonomous Business Unit (ABU) creation is essentially when a parent organization sets up a separate strategic business unit, which is decentralized from the parent. In order to encourage and promote corporate entrepreneurship, the ABU has separate governance to that of the parent organisation and is isolated from all of its associated bureaucracies. Even though the ABUs incorporate individuals and groups, this is still a strategic approach to corporate entrepreneurship and one which is externally orientated.

Ordinary New Product Development (ONPD)

Knight (1987) defines ordinary new product development as the traditional approach to corporate innovation. It is a more formalized set of procedures within an organization to achieve competitive advantage. 'A typical pattern is where various specialists each play roles in a sequence which might begin with market research and / or brainstorming to identify new product directions. An R&D project is then authorized by top management to perform pilot exploration of technical problems. If results are favorable, some sort of larger new product team or task force is then appointed, likely through a matrix organization to carry the product forward through prototyping, preliminary design, testing, production engineering, tooling, promotion and introduction in a relatively linear, albeit with some iterative loops, fashion.' (Vesper, 1984 p.296)

As Vesper highlights, this form involves individuals, groups and strategic levels of an organization. It could be argued that ONPD is not entrepreneurial due to its structured and linear nature, but it also can be argued that many forms of corporate entrepreneurship (such as domain redefinition, new strategic direction, autonomous business creation) are in some way structured if not linear, and so this remains open for debate. Ordinary new product development fits into Covin's (1999) sustained regeneration mode.

Merger and Acquisitions

Merger and acquisitions involve one organization acquiring and taking over another, rather than creating a new one (Vesper 1984, Knight, 1987, Lengnick-Hall, 1991) through purchase or stock merger. Ginsberg and Hay (1994) in their article "confronting the challenges of CE' highlight that merger and acquisitions usually involve a structure that is integrated into the organization with external origins, i. e. the entrepreneurial resources are not 'home grown'".

Joint Ventures

A joint venture is when is when two firms 'contribute the necessary elements to create innovation' (Knight, 1987: 286). Vesper (1984) highlights how a joint venture may also incorporate other forms of corporate entrepreneurship such as something that is initiated from below or something that may lead to a new strategic direction. Ho Park and Kim (1997) underline the advantages of 'partial combinations' of resources between partners' which is another way of describing a joint venture. "The cooperative relationships can be used to bind together the complementary assets that represent portions of the two partners' operations. Joint ventures can avoid market inefficiency when idiosyncratic and specific assets are involved by creating a reciprocal governance structure through equity sharing.' (1997: 86)

Again, this makes reference to the underlying principles behind the Schumpeterian Innovation Concept. A joint venture will be initiated from the strategic level of an organization, but may (or may not) incorporate both group level and individual level activity.

Venture Groups and Divisions

Venture groups and divisions are groups of individuals that are brought together for the purpose of creating innovations within organizations. Vesper (1984) describes them as 'hothouses for cultivation of new ventures' (1984: 296). David (1994) in his study of internal corporate venture groups characterises venture group efforts as:

"(1) Semi-autonomous R&D groups within the corporate entity; 2) [being] created to exploit (primarily) product concepts that promise to help the firms get into new businesses; 3) [being]-the main responsibility of venture managers; and 4) using resources that are solely under the control of the firms."(1994: 38) Venture groups are normally recognized by the organisation, but bootleg venture groups or skunk works can evolve in organizations. There is a plethora of research that explores team-work. This would definitely provide a fruitful source of information for understanding venture groups and divisions.


This research began with a review of the actual process of conducting the literature review. It introduces the review itself highlighting how corporate entrepreneurship is contextually different to that of start up entrepreneurship and therefore it provides a new and different set of challenges for 'entrepreneuring' practitioners, those supporting and 'championing' entrepreneurship and those academics studying it. Through exploring contributions to the field in terms of organizational levels, I have highlighted some gaps in the research. The field is growing, but contributions tend to be positivistic in their empirical and theoretical approach. For a richer understanding of this dynamic 'process', I feel that practitioners and academics would benefit significantly from contributions exploring corporate entrepreneurship from other lenses, such as social constructionism and realism. Furthermore, contributions from a wider range of disciplines could create a broader perspective of corporate entrepreneurship, most particularly subjects such as psychology, organizational behavior, and Human Resource Management.

Corporate entrepreneurship could offer both public and private sector organizations solutions to the new and changing stakeholder demands. It is important that academics enrich contributions to the field through pluralist and multi-lens empirical research. Practitioners do not work in organizations that are linear models. they co-exist in complex, dynamic, vibrant and often bureaucratic and political organisations. In order to be useful and to be of significant value to those in the 'real world' researchers cannot ignore this.