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Corporate Entrepreneurship: A Research Perspective  

Donald F. Kuratko and Jeffrey G. Covin

The theoretical and empirical knowledge on corporate entrepreneurship (ce) has evolved in the research domain over the last 50 years, beginning very slowly and growing in importance in that time. Because of this evolution and expansion in CE research, the theoretical and empirical knowledge about CE and the entrepreneurial behavior on which it is based has progressed to a point where a greater understanding of the concept can be presented. Many of the elements essential to constructing a theoretically grounded understanding of the domains of CE have been identified. An examination of the field reveals that there are three research domains that have developed over the years: corporate venturing (either internal or external), strategic entrepreneurship, and entrepreneurial orientation. In examining the evolution of CE research across five decades, the focus of CE research has varied over the years. The very early research published in the 1970s focused more on how teams could establish entrepreneurial activities inside established organizations; however, this early research was sparse because CE was not widely acknowledged nor sought in existing organizations. The 1980s saw some research into entrepreneurial behavior inside established organizations that explained how such activity could simply not exist in the structure and operations of existing corporations. Opposed to that thinking, many more researchers demonstrated that the idea of corporate entrepreneurial activity could be conceived as a process of organizational renewal. In the 1990s, researchers began to develop more comprehensive examinations of CE that focused on re-energizing companies and therefore increasing its abilities to develop innovations. The first and second decades of the 21st century witnessed a more sophisticated refinement of research topics in CE. In addition to research specific to the development of the three main domains of CE (corporate venturing, entrepreneurial orientation, and strategic entrepreneurship), there has been research on more specific areas of interest in CE including the implementation of CE, management levels, the individual corporate entrepreneur, models and metrics of CE, a deeper examination of internal corporate ventures, the international domain, firm size, family firms, ethics, and corporate venture capital. These areas illustrate the developmental expansion of interest in CE across different domains. Even with the continued expansion in the research on CE, there is so much that is still not understood nor researched well enough to fully advance the theoretical and empirical knowledge on CE. With the growing climate of disruption through external antecedents such as COVID-19, the entrepreneurial behavior of individuals within organizations becomes paramount and warrants a deeper understanding. Newer research questions on CE are emerging and further theoretical exploration should be the work of ongoing scholarly efforts.


Corporate Social Entrepreneurship  

Elisa Alt

Corporate social entrepreneurship (CSE) is a subject of growing interest for scholars in the areas of corporate entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, and corporate social responsibility as it has the potential of engaging corporations in activities that transform traditional practices, advance corporate purpose, and promote positive social change. CSE consists of identifying, evaluating, and exploiting entrepreneurial opportunities that address social and environmental problems through market means from within corporations. Dual value creation—the simultaneous pursuit of social and economic value creation—is a core element of CSE, however, in organizations that have not been originally designed for this purpose. As an umbrella concept, CSE embraces similar terms such as social intrapreneurship and sustainable corporate entrepreneurship. CSE often starts autonomously through managers and employees acting as social intrapreneurs, until initiatives are accepted and integrated into the firm’s concept of strategy. CSE introduces a societal concern to corporate entrepreneurship, contextualizes social entrepreneurship in corporations, and advances entrepreneurial approaches to corporate social responsibility—all of which are topics that remain relatively unexplored and that offer vibrant opportunities for future research.


The Evolution of the Entrepreneurial Orientation (EO) Construct: Dominant Research Questions and Conversational Shifts  

Patrick Kreiser, Jeffrey G. Covin, Matthew J. Fox, Ignacio Godinez Puebla, and Shawn Enriques

Entrepreneurial orientation (EO) has become a central construct in the management and entrepreneurship literature over the past several decades. Specific questions and associated themes have dominated EO research over the years, with the research itself exhibiting a number of conversational shifts prompted by the publication of seminal articles. The period 1973–1982 is the EO Construct Pre-emergence Era. During this time, scholars began to allude to the possibility that firms themselves—rather than only individuals—could act in entrepreneurial manners. What constitutes an entrepreneurial firm, wherein entrepreneurship might be seen as a central attribute of the firm, was yet to be clearly specified. The period 1983–1995 is the EO Construct Introduction and Legitimization Era. This era was prompted by the publication of an article by Danny Miller in which he introduced EO as a unidimensional construct composed of three overlapping dimensions: risk taking, innovativeness, and proactiveness. Dominant research questions of the era include: How is entrepreneurship manifested as an attribute of firms, independent of firm size and age? and What do entrepreneurial firms have in common? The period 1996–2010 was the EO Construct Critical Examination and Debate Era. This era was launched by an article by Tom Lumpkin and Greg Dess in which they observed that two additional dimensions to EO might be considered—namely, competitive aggressiveness and autonomy—and that EO might, alternatively, be represented by a firm’s profile across these five dimensions. Common research questions of the era include: How can entrepreneurial firms be different? Does EO look the same in different institutional and environmental contexts? Are there attributes that must be present in order to label a firm “entrepreneurial”? Is there a most appropriate way to conceive of EO’s dimensionality? and Does EO predict firm performance? The period 2011–2022 is the EO Construct Expansion and Specialization Era. This era began with the publication of an article by Jeff Covin and Tom Lumpkin in which they recognized differences between proposed conceptualizations of EO and suggested that future research explore both dominant EO conceptualizations, that is, the unidimensional and the multidimensional conceptualization of the construct. Research questions of the era include: Is it appropriate to consider different constructs using the label EO? What are the various forms and indicators of EO? How can EO be measured using nontraditional methods? Should the EO construct be extended to other levels of analysis? What are the antecedents to EO? and What are some of the non-performance-based outcomes of EO? As scholars addressed the prominent research questions of the day, intellectual building blocks have been established and promising domains of future research have been recognized. In general, the observed knowledge expansion that began with an emphasis on EO’s meaning and measurement now includes, for example, greater emphasis on EO’s nomological network, forms and manifestations, antecedents and outcomes, and applicable contexts and theories.