Chapter 30. The Concept of Corporate Entrepreneurship

Jeffrey G. Covin and Donald F. Kuratko

Indiana University


Many have observed that corporate entrepreneurship (hereafter CE) is a common and/or inevitable byproduct of organizational activity and, therefore, has existed as long as organizations themselves (e.g., Burgelman and Sayles, 1986; Covin and Miles, 1999; Drucker, 1985; Kuratko, Ireland, and Hornsby, 2001). However, CE as a concept has surfaced within the academic literature largely over the last four decades. There is no universally agreed-upon meaning attached to the term CE. Moreover, depictions of the CE concept have varied considerably over time.

Early scholars tended to use the label CE solely in reference to the pursuit of new business venturing opportunities within established firms (e.g., Hill and Hlavacek, 1972; Peterson and Berger, 1971). The terms CE and corporate venturing were often used interchangeably and in reference to this same "new business" phenomenon. More recent conceptualizations of CE suggest that entrepreneurship also exists in other forms within established firms. For example, Guth and Ginsberg (1990) and Zahra (1991) have argued that CE may occur as strategic renewal, whereby an established firm instigates significant changes to its strategy and/or structure in pursuit of greater organizational efficiency or effectiveness. In their review of the CE literature, Sharma and Chrisman (1999, p. 19) proposed that CE may exist as corporate ...

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