Are Intrapreneur And Entrepreneur Two Sides Of A Coin?
This is the age of intellect which has seen the pre eminence of the knowledge worker.However several modes of production are known to coexist in a single society: therefore casual labor,contract wage earners,peasants, the petit bourgeoisie and the organized proletariat cannot be wished away. In this economic set up the role of entrepreneur becomes essential one as he is the one who cater to the needs of creating goods and wealth so essential for the well being of the society.
*The Entrepreneur and his needs *- It was Joseph Schumpeter who gave legitimacy to the role of entrepreneur in the economic theory,as the vehicle on which capitalist economic development could be achieved, his status was thus elevated from that of an erstwhile trader. Entrepreneurs own and control their business and to that extent they speculate with their own capital. They are innovative in raising venture capital for their projects,are creative in applying technology to its fullest potential. To achieve this,what an entrepreneur needs is an external climate that will enable him to raise funds, an infrastructure that enables him to conduct his business,and most importantly, a state bureaucracy that doesn't impede his innovations. Internally,he needs people who believe in his ideas,share his vision and be able to read his mind and are willing to help him grow business. He needs a work force that is willing learn, experiment and accept changes without much fuss. The external climate is created by state policies on capital and labour where an entrepreneur can't do much but internal climate can be designed to suit the external one. The strategic HR interventions aimed at building value based corporate culture become the need . For him to succeed his strategies need to be ethical although external climate is not conducive to ethical standards. He shares his views, and accepts his dues to society of which he is a part and thus takes his social responsibility seriously,however small entrepreneur he is.The one who doesn't give back to society is practicing unethical behavior although he preaches differently. For this he needs a team which is supporting, in return for which he must bring transparency in all his business dealings. This doesn't imply leaking company secrets, whistle blowing or giving away plans to competitors. It means that people know what you did, how and why you did. Above all, else, the entrepreneurial venture must be honest,original,unique and rare, have no substitutes and not be easy to imitate. The question arises then who takes the responsibility to interpret the vision of entrepreneur? Who is that catalyst who brings desired change and catapults the organization to the new heights? Who reads the mind of an entrepreneur and shares his dream as his own? Who is this who stimulates new ideas and finds competitive strategies? Who has this sense of belongingness even though he has not put his own capital at risk? Intrapreneur he is.
*The intrapreneur and his needs*: The main difference between the intrapreneur and the entrepreneur is that the former operates from a position of derived authority since he does not own the means of production.
The first stage deals with problem definition. These problems arise from within the organisation and it is the task of the intrapreneur to convert problems into solutions. He has to be sensitive to change and open to surprise. He must be able to read between the lines and learn not only from his own experiences but also from those of others.
The second stage requires coalition building. Within the organisation, the intrapreneur must have a network of supporters who will stand by his innovation when it is most vulnerable. Although he does not seek external funding or have to go to a venture capitalist, he certainly needs the support of his peers who must show that they trust him.
The third stage calls for resource mobilisation, whether physical, technological, financial, reputation-based or human. His project is an internal corporate venture that must succeed and he needs all the support that he can harness to make that happen. To borrow resources assigned to others within the organisation and to make others believe in him he must be a master negotiator and a convincing communicator.
The fourth stage is project execution, which has its own entry strategy and its own entry wedges. If the project has a first mover advantage the intrapreneur must try to retain this advantage for as long as possible without sacrificing ethics. It must have clear strategy and evaluation criteria that are transparent and scientifically verifiable.
The last stage is venture completion. If the project is anything less than a success, it must be disbanded and the resources must be reallocated within the organisation. Ego must not be allowed to stand in the way of accepting reality. After all only those who work will make mistakes and if their bona fides are beyond reproof the value-based organisation never questions their managerial judgement. Values and ethics are, therefore, germane to the intrapreneur and it is on the basis of these two factors that he can get support from the organisation and whose capital he is using to gain a competitive leverage.
Like the entrepreneur, he too needs support from others and the greatest support comes from operating in a value-based corporate culture where business ethics and good governance practices are well ensconced. Trust, transparency and teamwork will then become the cornerstones of the intrapreneurial success. The intrapreneur needs support from the top and from below if he is to succeed, and in his success lies the success of the organisation.
And if an employee shows such traits of belonging news he should have following rights.
The right to appoint oneself as an intrapreneur.
The right to stay with the venture.
The right to make decisions that affect the venture.
The right to appropriate corporate slack i.e. flexibility in using budgetary allocations.
The right to start small even when the corporate entity is like a behemoth.
The right to fail and not be pulled up for it.
The right to take enough time to succeed i.e. top management must be patient.
The right to cut across organisational borders to get the right venture team in place.
The right to recruit team members who owe allegiance to the team rather than their parent department.
The right to choose between contending alternatives and resources.
This, in turn, needs a vibrant corporate culture based on values and ethics on the one hand and managed with the help of sound governance practices on the other. Just as the parents of the child with Downs syndrome had a major role to play in either giving the childs life a new meaning or destroying whatever humanity was left in it, so too, organisational structure and design and corporate culture have a major role to play in bringing about intrapreneurial development.