13. Intrapreneurship

Questions for Discussion

  • 1. What is entrepreneurship?
  • 2. What is intrapreneurship?
  • 3. How do intrapreneurs affect the profitability of organizations?
  • 4. What are the means of signaling the importance of innovations in a company?
  • 5. What spheres of management are innovations particularly rewarding in?
  • 6. What outcome can the failure to innovate lead a company to? Why?
  • 7. Who in the company can promote innovations and who can thwart all the innovative activities?
  • 8. What is the role of creativity in an innovative process?
  • 9. What would happen if there were no idea people and no innovations?
  • 10. Can intrapreneurship approach to work be taught?
  • 11. Should the creation and promotion of new ideas be confined only to top-level management?
  • 12. What are the techniques for enhancing creativity and innovation?

Target Vocabulary


to enhance creativity



to exploit new opportunities

nominal group technique

to foster innovation


to push for change

to generate novel ideas

to thwart innovative activities

to inhibit creative efforts

Vocabulary Practice

Exercise 1. Use your target vocabulary to replace these explanations.


creating new businesses to spawn within an organization


to encourage and promote innovations


a way of making a group of people all think about something at the same time, often in order to solve a problem or to create good ideas


looking at something from a new perspective while relying on analogies


an interesting idea which is different from anything known before


to make creative efforts slower and less frequent

Exercise 2. Complete these sentences using your target vocabulary in the appropriate form.

  • 1. The developers were discussing the.......features of the product.
  • 2. The managing director’s presence.......their creative abilities.
  • 3........is an important element of solving a difficult problem.
  • 4. Some managers hinder the company’s progress by......innovative activities.
  • 5. The task of a manager is to.......creativity.
  • 6. The company.......new opportunities for some time and as a result has come up with a

real breakthrough.

Tips for Topic Development

Text 1

In the self-employment world, small-business owners are frequently inundated with ambiguous, new terms and phrases that either help or confuse them in their quest to build a booming, thriving business. One word that has been on the scene for years, but only recently resurfaced is ‘intrapreneurship’. Sometimes referred to as ‘corporate renewal’, intrapreneurship is the process by which large organizations seek to utilize, maintain or retain the edge in innovation and profit making by asking employees to spawn businesses within the business. The concept has been around for more than 20 years and was originally coined by author and innovator speaker Gifford Pinchot in an early 1980s book about corporate intrapreneuring.

Generally, the process of intrapreneuring works like this: Someone within a corporation is passionate about an idea and eventually shifts it into the company’s venture division with the suggestion: «If you have a potential new business, isolate it from the rest of the organization so it won’t be infected, but still give it enough space to grow.»

Intrapreneurs are still company employees, but they are supposedly given free rein to run a particular aspect of the company, perhaps a new product line or subsidiary.

Successful case studies about intrapreneurial ventures include Motorola, Intel Corporation, Honeywell and Southwest Airlines, (from Glenn Townes's “Intrapreurship vs Entrepreneurships: Is there difference?”, 2005, http://ntib.com/object/IQ_23781.html)

Agree or disagree with these statements.

  • 1. It’s easy to come out with a new idea.
  • 2. The concept of intrapreneurship is nothing more than a myth academics and consultants create to sell books.
  • 3. Intrapreneurship should be encouraged in all organizations.
  • 4. Intrapreneurship enhances loyalty to an organization.
  • 5. Organizations should create a climate where everybody has the potential to create new things.
  • 6. Intrapreneurship increases competition in a company.

Text 2

The basic orientation of an organization toward innovation must stem primarily from the highest level. Ideally, the CEO envisions a future for the organization that is based on innovation and then attempts to communicate that vision to organization members.

One primary means of signaling the importance of innovation is the organizational mission statement, which

  • 1) addresses the general areas in which innovation is to be emphasized;
  • 2) motivates organization members to innovate.

If the organizational conditions foster innovation, the possibilities that innovative goals are met are greater.

One of the companies, called 3M, which has the reputation for innovative products now, was on the verge of bankruptcy. But its CEO Allen F. Jacobson used an approach that was similar to that used for product innovation. Instead of laying off workers he put them to work on some clear objectives. Jacobson determined that the company needed to improve productivity, speed manufacturing cycles, and cut expenses caused by poor quality. The results were encouraging.

Innovations are particularly important in the context of strategic management, because organizations that do not continually incorporate new ideas are likely to fall behind competitively, particularly when the environment is changing rapidly. Very often the failure to innovate adequately may lead to the company’s demise.

The extent to which the strategic management process encourages innovation depends largely on the orientation of top leaders. Their personalities, power, and information enable them to overcome obstacles and push for change on the one hand, and thwart innovative activities on the other hand.

Say which of the statements below are true and which are false.

  • 1. The innovations stem from the low-level managers.
  • 2. The low-level managers have to defend their innovations.
  • 3. The importance of innovations is usually stated in the company mission.
  • 4. The innovative approach can save companies from demise.
  • 5. It is strategic management that thwarts innovative activities.
  • 6. Innovations are encouraged by top leaders.
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