Intrapreneurship – an overlooked organisational culture

The epic stories of small start-ups turning into multi-billion dollar business is not new anymore. We love to hear the legendary stories of visionary entrepreneurs who are able to tackle all the hurdles single-handedly. In fact, we tend to believe more on individual charisma than anything else which can bring success for an organisation.

Small businesses today experience lower survival rate due to many factors such as – increased competition, instable revenue growth, lack of expertise in exploiting the resources to name a few. To weather the various challenges and achieve a sustainable competitive advantage, every small business entrepreneur tries to carve out new strategies to best exploit the available resources. Among the various resources, focus is mostly given to the accumulation of financial capital, undermining the most important form of organisational resource, i.e. human capital, which is capable of bring immediate and long-term financial return. One of the best ways to exploit the organisation’s human capital is to nourish the culture of ‘Intrapreneurship’.

‘Intrapreneurship’ is an organisational culture which is often overlooked, yet with tremendous potential to help an organisation to thrive in the fast paced environment.

It also translates the overarching management philosophy which eventually dictates the employees more than formal rules and procedures can do. At its simplest, intrapreneurship is about instilling the entrepreneurial spirit among every employee across the whole organisation. It is a skill comprised of many other skills such as – proactiveness, self-renewal, and capacity to think out of the box. It can stimulate the creative energy among the individuals which leads to change and innovation. Intrapreneurship departs from customary belief of typical bureaucratic organisational structure which is rigid and represents a multitude of hierarchical systems. Instead, it allows more decentralised decision making which altogether aids in the development of a more transparent and customer focused organisation.

Key to a successful ‘Intrapreneurship’ culture is to attract a forward-looking, diverse and dedicated workforce who is ready to embrace all sorts of changes and share the same vision as delineated by top management. Hence, the staffing policy plays a big part in this regard. The practice of ‘Intrapreneurship’ is mostly observed in large corporations and often interchangeably used as ‘corporate entrepreneurship’. There are however, examples of small businesses which were able to transform into billion dollar businesses by implementing the culture of ‘Intrapreneurship’. Such names as, Wipro – a vegetable manufacturer turned into software and IT outsourcing giant, Zappos – a footwear vendor turned into one of the biggest online markets will always inspire us!

 

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