Intrapreneuring: Why You Don't Have to Leave the Corporation to Become an Entrepreneur

Posted: 4 Nov 2009

Date Written: 1985


Advances the notion of "intrapreneuring," an in-house form of entrepreneurship, and examines how intrapreneurs and corporations can work together for mutual benefit. Innovation is essential to continued commercial vitality and large organizations often have the ideas and resources to implement innovation. What they often lack, however, is a corporate culture that fosters identifying and converting these ideas into commercially viable ventures. The solution, according to the author, is the intrapreneur: one who takes a hands-on responsibility for creating innovation within the organization. Using a case study approach, the book analyzes characteristics of intrapreneurs, the intrapreneurial process, and how companies can develop an intrepreneurial culture. Intrapreneurs prefer action to extensive planning; nevertheless, they are calculated risk-takers who will assume responsibility for envisioning the necessary product, market, and management strategies. Because of this preference, the objectives of the intrapreneur can be aligned with the needs of the company. Furthermore, intrapreneuring provides an innovator with a built-in stock of assets, allowing the employee more time to implement the vision and less need to worry about securing investment capital that is faced by entrepreneurs. The intrapreneurial process is similar to the entrepreneurial process, with business plans and idea champions. Intrapreneuring also distinctively involves a role for the in-house sponsor, one who will finesse the corporate politics while the intrapreneur attends single-mindedly to making the idea a reality. Frequently, sponsors are found among owners, CEOs and former intrapreneurs. The last section of the book identifies corporate cultural factors that will promote intrapreneurship. Additionally, the need for appropriate incentives, since few intrapreneurs are driven by a desire to accumulate massive wealth, is discussed. The author proposes a system of "intracapital," a commitment to provide a certain amount of discretionary funds without an expiration date as a reward to in-house innovators. (CAR)

Keywords: Business plans, Champions, Access to capital, Entrepreneurial environment, Intrapreneurs, Incentives, Corporate entrepreneurship, Internal ventures, Demographics, Risk orientation, Management techniques, Organizational cultures, Innovation process

Suggested Citation

Pinchot, Gifford III, Intrapreneuring: Why You Don't Have to Leave the Corporation to Become an Entrepreneur (1985). University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership Historical Research Reference in Entrepreneurship, Available at SSRN:

Gifford III Pinchot (Contact Author)

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