18 july 2023
In short, it refers to the attitude and behavior of employees who identify opportunities to do things in a new or different way, convert these opportunities into practical solutions, and aim to achieve results for customers. Internal entrepreneurship applies to employees at all levels of the organization. Often, only competencies such as results orientation, market orientation, environmental awareness, etc. are taken into consideration, while entrepreneurship within an organization is a driving force for growth and possibilities.
It is important to understand the aspects that play a role in stimulating internal entrepreneurship. On one hand, it requires cognitive abilities from employees, where they use their analytical thinking to create order and structure in business operations. This includes instrumental aspects that need to be well-regulated: policies, organization, communication, and culture. Ideally, these requirements should align well, but realistically, it is often not feasible. For example, the policy may be unclear or lacking coherence, hindering its effective implementation. By appealing to emotions, you can achieve coherence, which relates to both the conscious and unconscious (intuitive) emotions of employees. It touches upon their deepest motivations to engage or not engage in certain matters.
The capacity in which emotions play a role is vital for "internal" entrepreneurship. Three aspects are important in this regard: meaning, trust, and group cohesion. Meaning refers to the deeper significance of the organization or its divisions' work. What is the purpose behind it? The second aspect, trust, involves courage and bravery to take on endeavors whose outcomes are uncertain. Lastly, group cohesion is the final aspect. Employees have a need for connection with each other. This group cohesion relates to the role they fulfill within the group and the respect and appreciation they experience from group members.
Internal entrepreneurship often yields sustainable results. The main reason lies in the support and buy-in from employees. This support arises from their active participation in improvement initiatives and their recognition that the ultimate work situation encourages them to perform well and enjoy their work. Characteristics of organizations with internal entrepreneurship include clear policies with realistic goals and concrete actions, a high degree of result orientation among employees, a customer-centric approach by employees, an integrated approach to service provision, and finally, a collegial and enthusiastic work atmosphere. Examples of results can include a significant increase in productivity, employee engagement, customer satisfaction, and job satisfaction.