Companies need more innovation and intrapreneurship is the means to achieve it. Intrapreneurship is a process of employee-driven innovation leading intrapreneurs to create more value for their employing organisations. But the current low level of intrapreneurship in the EU is creating a challenge for the companies, especially for the SMEs, the backbone of EU economy.
Research shows that intrapreneurship process is influenced by the internal environment of the organisation, comprising four components of intrapreneurial organisation. Of these two are organisational components: (1) corporate culture of the organisation, and (2) structure and processes of the organisation, and two are individual components: (3) motivation of intrapreneurs, and (4) competences of intrapreneurs. These components are all necessary and only together sufficient for creating and sustaining an intrapreneurial organisation where innovation happens.
In a company with a strategy to foster intrapreneurship and innovation, it is the job of top managers to create and sustain an intrapreneurial organisation by managing the internal environment in a manner that fosters all four necessary components of intrapreneurial organisation.
While the top managers have direct control over the first three components, they cannot directly control the competences of employees, as a competence is an attribute of an individual. Managers can try and influence the level of employees’ competences by selective hiring i.e. hiring the individuals who already possess an adequate level of the needed competences, or by organising training which aims at developing employees’ competences. But while large organisations can rather easily find and hire employees with proper competences or undertake training programmes of their employees, the situation of SMEs is different, given their limited human and financial resources. This means that one of the four necessary components of an intrapreneurial organisation is difficult for the SMEs to attain.
In this situation, proposing in-service training of current employees to develop their competences will not deliver the desired result of increasing the level of intrapreneurship and innovation in companies, particularly the SMEs. Instead, the efforts should be focussed on entrepreneurship education, teaching the competences which intrapreneurs need for participating in intrapreneurship and innovation processes to the future employees of the companies in formal education system, for instance at business schools.