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 / Spring 2003 / Issue 30(originally published by Booz & Company)


The Paradox of Corporate Entrepreneurship

About the Research

This article draws from the author’s ongoing research into the antecedents and consequences of corporate entrepreneurship. The first phase of this research, reported in Entrepreneurship in the Global Firm (Sage, 2000), “Subsidiary Initiatives to Develop New Markets” (Sloan Management Review, 1998), and “Unleash Innovation in Foreign Subsidiaries” (Harvard Business Review, 2001), focused on specific entrepreneurial initiatives pursued by managers in overseas subsidiaries. The second phase focused on the nature of corporate entrepreneurship as a firmwide phenomenon, and the role of head office executives. Companies involved in this phase included ABB, BP, “Datakom,” Diageo, Enron, Ericsson, HP, Oracle, Pharmacia, Sara Lee, and Spirent. The third phase of research is focusing on corporate venturing as a specific activity that many large firms undertake to enhance their entrepreneurial capability. Companies involved in this study include BT Group, GlaxoSmithKline, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, Lucent, Nokia, Philips, Reuters, Shell, and Unilever.

Julian Birkinshaw, [email protected]
Julian Birkinshaw is an associate professor of strategic and international management at the London Business School. His research and consulting focuses on the internal dynamics of large organizations; in particular, on their approaches to becoming more entrepreneurial. He is the author of five books, including the forthcoming Inventuring: Why Big Companies Must Think Small (McGraw-Hill, March 2003).
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