To What Extent Does the Level of Corporate Entrepreneurial Behaviour Influence a Lower-level Manager’s Intention to Act Intrapreneurially - Is This Relationship
Moderated by the Lower-level Manager’s Personality?
Daniel Antonio Proença 12569003
15 January 2021
Executive Programme in Management Studies (Strategy Track) University of Amsterdam / Amsterdam Business School
Supervisor: Philip Eskenazi EBEC approval: 20201229111210
Statement of Originality
This document is written by Student Daniel Proença who declares to take full responsibility for the contents of this document.
I declare that the text and the work presented in this document is original and that no sources other than those mentioned in the text and its references have been used in creating it.
The Faculty of Economics and Business is responsible solely for the supervision of completion of the work, not for the contents.
Table of Contents
CHAPTER 1 6
1. INTRODUCTION 6
CHAPTER 2 8
2. LITERATURE REVIEW 8
2.1. INTRAPRENEURSHIP 9
2.2. CONSEQUENCES OF INTRAPRENEURSHIP 12
2.2.1. PERFORMANCE AND RENEWAL 12
2.2.2. INNOVATION 13
2.3. ANTECEDENTS OF INTRAPRENEURSHIP 13
2.3.1. PERSONALITY 13
2.3.2. CORPORATE CHARACTERISTICS 16
2.3.3. THE INCENTIVES OF INTRAPRENEURIAL BEHAVIOUR 18
2.3.4. NATIONAL CULTURE 19
2.4. HYPOTHESIS DEVELOPMENT 19
2.5. CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK 24
2.6. EXPECTATIONS 25
CHAPTER 3 26
3. RESEARCH METHOD 26
3.1. SAMPLING STRATEGY 26
3.2. MEASURES 27
3.2.1. INDIVIDUAL PERSONALITY 27
3.2.2. ENTREPRENEURIAL ORGANISATION/LEADERSHIP 27
3.2.3. INTRAPRENEURIAL INTENTION 28
3.2.4. DEMOGRAPHIC AND CONTROL 28
3.3. PROCEDURE 29
3.3.1. CONTROL VARIABLES 29
3.3.2. INDEPENDENT VARIABLES 29
3.3.3. DEPENDENT VARIABLES 29
CHAPTER 4 30
4. RESULTS 30
4.1. DIAGNOSTIC APPROACH 30
4.1.1. CONSIDERATIONS 30
4.2. DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICS 31
4.3. NORMALITY TESTS 33
4.4. RELIABILITY ANALYSIS 33
4.4.1. EXTROVERSION SCALES 33
4.4.2. CONSCIENTIOUSNESS SCALES 33
4.4.3. EMOTIONAL STABILITY SCALES 34
4.4.4. OPENNESS TO NEW EXPERIENCES SCALES 34
4.4.5. INTRAPRENEURIAL INTENTION SCALES 34
4.4.6. ENTREPRENEURIAL ORGANISATION SCALES 35
4.5. CORRELATION ANALYSIS 35
4.6. REGRESSION ANALYSIS 36
4.6.1. REGRESSION ANALYSIS:CONTROL VARIABLES (LINEAR) 36
4.6.2. REGRESSION ANALYSIS:PERSONALITY (LINEAR) 37 4.6.3. REGRESSION ANALYSIS:ENTREPRENEURIAL ORGANISATION (LINEAR) 38 4.6.4. REGRESSION ANALYSIS:MODERATION RELATIONSHIPS (LINEAR) 39
4.7. HYPOTHESIS TESTING 41
CHAPTER 5 43
5. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION 43
5.1. FINDINGS AND INTERPRETATIONS 43
5.2. LIMITATIONS 45
5.3. IMPLICATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 46
5.4. CONCLUSION 48
APPENDIX A 53
APPENDIX B 54
APPENDIX C 55
Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to study to what extent the level of corporate entrepreneurial behaviour influences a lower-level manager’s intention to act intrapreneurially (i.e., their individual intrapreneurial intention). Further, this paper studies if this relationship is moderated by the lower-level manager’s personality.
Design/method/approach - The study develops and tests a theoretical framework where higher levels of corporate entrepreneurship have a positive relationship with lower-level manager’s intrapreneurial intention. In this theoretical model, the lower-level manager’s personality moderates the relationship between corporate entrepreneurship and intrapreneurial intention. This means that the higher the intrapreneurial personality, the higher the level of intrapreneurial intention. Based on a 55-item survey, data from a sample of 104 participants were obtained in an anonymous manner, no personal information was collected or stored, and no provided data can be traced back to any individual.
Findings – No support was found for the framework where it theorised a positive relationship between corporate entrepreneurial behaviour and intrapreneurial intention. In terms of personality traits, emotional stability and conscientiousness were found to be significant in predicting the level of intrapreneurial intention. Even though not all statistically significant, the hypotheses in this study show substantial promise in predicting intrapreneurial behaviour.
Research limitations/implications – a larger, more varied sample size would provide more certainty and statistical confidence. This study was conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic and thus, access to random and varied research participants may have been circumstantially limited. However, this research contributes to the literature by highlighting that an individual’s personality traits influence their intrapreneurial intention. There is promise in studying the interaction effect of personality on intrapreneurial intention in that it challenges the key personality traits necessary to identify intrapreneurs in the organisation.
There has been considerable research on corporate strategy (CS) and intrapreneurship and their benefits on organisational growth, financial performance and innovation. With the general focus on the firm as the implementer and beneficiary of CS and intrapreneurship, research has overlooked the impact of the individuals, those lower-level managers, who institutionalise these strategies. I attempt to explicate this oversight by examining the relationship between an individual manager’s intentions and the level of organisational entrepreneurship (corporate strategy, culture and leadership style) to ascertain to what extent an organisation that is entrepreneurial permits (or prevents) managers to behave in an intrapreneurial manner.
The term ‘intrapreneurship’ is comprised of the entrepreneurial behaviour and intention of employees within a corporate environment, i.e., an established organisation. Intrapreneurship and corporate entrepreneurship are used interchangeably in the literature. There is, however, nuance in intrapreneurship in that it is rooted within an individual’s personality, actions and intentions, whereas corporate entrepreneurship is rooted within the organisation’s context as a whole, not directly at the individual level. Additionally, since an individual’s personality is complex by nature, I will address the possibility that personality may have a moderating effect on the interaction between the level of organisational entrepreneurship and the lower-level manager’s intention to act intrapreneurially.
I intend to highlight that organisations that display corporate-level entrepreneurial characteristics and employ corporate cultures and leadership styles that promote entrepreneurship, will most likely enjoy intrapreneurial behaviour from their lower-level managers - even if those managers do not fit the model of what is considered to be characteristic
of what an entrepreneur/intrapreneur is. Furthermore, I attempt to objectively assess whether an organisation’s corporate-level that promotes entrepreneurship in their strategies, culture and leadership style, will not only amplify those lower-level managers who fit the model intrapreneur, but also provide the platform for those lower-level managers who do not fit the model but can flourish in the right conditions. The results of which ultimately benefit the organisation at large through performance, growth and innovation.
This research contributes to CS and intrapreneurship research in the following way: It zooms in on the determinants of a lower-level management’s intrapreneurial intention, recognising the relationship between the CS and lower-level manager’s intentions, and how these intentions may be influenced by their unique individual personalities. My contribution will then be to develop a conceptual model that clarifies the relationship and interaction between the organisation’s level of entrepreneurship and the lower-level managers intrapreneurial intention – increasing the focus on why it is important to govern an organisation in such a way that the CS empowers an individual to engage in intrapreneurship. This, in turn, benefits the organisation in terms of performance, innovation and growth. Schumpeter (1934) states that entrepreneurs [intrapreneurs] are the driving force of organisational development, as they bring innovation, novelty and ‘think’ for the organisation in terms of competitive advantage and survival strategies. Kurtako (2009) strengthens the relevance of this contribution by stating that intrapreneurial strategies will drive the organisation through the increasingly challenging global economy. Schumpeter and Kurtako’s arguments make it clear that organisations which empower their internal entrepreneurs will benefit from organisational growth, innovation and enjoy the competitive advantages custom-built by their employees.
2. Literature review
This research will be assessing the level of entrepreneurial behaviour in an organisations’
strategy, culture and leadership style to measure the effect these organisational characteristics have on individual lower-level management intention to behave intrapreneurially.
Renko et al. (2015) define entrepreneurial leadership as “influencing and directing the performance of group members toward the achievement of organisational goals that involve recognising and exploiting entrepreneurial opportunities”. If the corporate-level leads in an entrepreneurial way, it can be argued that lower-level management’s intention towards entrepreneurial decisions, i.e. acting intrapreneurially, will be positively increased, even if their personality is not necessarily or explicitly entrepreneurial. In this research, I will consider lower-level managers as those who have some level of responsibility and ability to pursue opportunities but are below corporate-level managers and decision makers. The global economic landscape’s dynamism demands that organisations explore new opportunities through, for example, corporate entrepreneurship (CE), in order to survive (Ireland, Covin &
Kuratko, 2009). Ireland, Covin and Kuratko (2009) use a combination of literature to define CE as (1) a strategy that suggests the ways in which to revitalise an established organisation and (2) as a strategy that allows employees to be creative, innovative and responsible for their own decisions within an established organisation. Further, they develop the understanding that CE strategy is core to establishing a competitive advantage and provides the means with which an organisation can develop its capabilities that are necessary for success. Since ‘corporate entrepreneurship’ is used synonymously with ‘intrapreneurship’, intrapreneurship holds the same value-adding abilities mentioned and this definition acknowledges the nuance that intrapreneurship is rooted within and actioned upon, by an individual.
Urban and Wood (2017) reiterate the notion that a corporate entrepreneurship [intrapreneurship] strategy is realised through the interaction and synergy between both the organisation and an individual. Their research shows that an individual’s entrepreneurship alertness has to be encouraged and tolerated by the organisation in order for an individual to make connections, identify opportunities and translate those opportunities into actions.
In order to enable an environment where corporate entrepreneurship [intrapreneurship] strategy is successful, organisations should ensure that their corporate foundation is supportive of intrapreneurial behaviour (Urban & Wood, 2017). Further, these organisations should provide the following ‘building blocks’ of an entrepreneurial organisation: corporate-level support, suitable reward systems, sufficient time to pursue opportunities, employee work autonomy and supportive resources (Urban & Wood, 2017) – all of which signal to individual employees that intrapreneurial behaviour is desired. Their research found that there is a positive relationship between the presence of these building blocks and higher levels of individual corporate entrepreneurship [intrapreneurship].
Intrapreneurship comprises of the entrepreneurial behaviours, intentions and orientations of an organisation, run by its employees (J. Antoncic & B. Antoncic, 2011). Researchers have also defined intrapreneurship as doing things differently in an organisation in order to pursue attractive opportunities (Vesper, 1984), and alternatively defined as “the spirit of entrepreneurship within an existing organisation” (Hisrich & Peters, 1995). Entrepreneurship has a strong association with individuals who have the skills and abilities to start and successfully run their own business. This ‘type’ of person has a unique combination of drive,
skillset and vision that they use to transport their business to success. Intrapreneurship is thus the same unique ‘type’ of person, but applying their drive, skillset and vision to their workplace in a corporate context. These characteristics provide intrapreneurs with the ‘X factor’ to exploit the competitive advantages of the organisation.
The literature acknowledges that corporate entrepreneurship behaviour is corporate-level and that intrapreneurship is at individual-level, however, to my knowledge, there is little acknowledgment of the nuances in intrapreneurship in that it is rooted in an individual’s attention, intention and decisions to act on opportunities that benefit the organisation - whereas corporate entrepreneurship manifests as the overarching strategy throughout the organisation.
According to Augusto Felício, Rodrigues and Caldeirinha (2012), an intrapreneur in an organisation is “someone who recognises the opportunities for change, evaluates them, exploits them and believes that the exploration of a new path, different from previous practice, will succeed in achieving the objectives of the organisation”. Intrapreneurship, for the purpose of this research, is thus broadly defined as entrepreneurship within an existing organisation carried out by individuals. An example of this definition is provided in a case outlining the history of Nespresso (Brem, 2016). Nestle, a very successful group in the food industry, aspired to bringing the luxury coffee experience to offices through their Nespresso pods and machines with the hope that individuals experiencing the coffee at the office would become interested in the product. This strategy did not work and later, the Nestle team hired Jean-Paul Gaillard, who ultimately introduced the strategy that brought enormous success to the company. In short, Gaillard behaved as the intrapreneur because he entered an existing organisation, Nestle, and introduced his strategy that was developed by his experience, knowledge and passion (entrepreneurial traits).
Intrapreneurship being rooted in decisions made by individuals is consistent with the resource- based view (RBV) in that the competitive advantage of the firm is as a result of rare and inimitable resources (Barney, 1991), which are in this case, rare and inimitable human resources. The RBV considers intrapreneurship as a core mechanism for accumulating and leveraging resources to gain competitive advantages (Floyd and Wooldridge, 1999). Since intrapreneurship is essentially entrepreneurial characteristics put into place within an existing organisation, entrepreneurship literature is relevant when discussing intrapreneurs and the value that they add to the organisation in the same way they would if they were to start their own business.
Intrapreneurial activity plays a considerable role in the organisation’s entrepreneurship strategy and behaviour, however, it is difficult to provide a precise definition of what entrepreneurial strategy is. Based on my research at the time of writing this study, this continues to elude scholars. Ireland, Covin and Kuratko (2009) cite Eisenhardt for her remarks that
“entrepreneurial strategy” may signal different things to different people, arguing that it is awkward to determine if a strategy is entrepreneurial or not. Shane and Venkataraman (2000) state that opportunity recognition and subsequent exploitation are the core of entrepreneurial behaviour and define the entrepreneurial process of the organisation. The decision to pursue an opportunity is a function of how attractive those opportunities are to the individuals who recognise them (Ireland, Covin & Kurtatko, 2009). These remarks further display that intrapreneurship is not a clear and obvious concept and to an organisation, it can be blurry whether the corporate entrepreneurial behaviour is necessary for developing and exploiting competitive advantages or if it is intrapreneurship that is required for developing competitive advantages. I argue that it is a combination of both, albeit on a case-by-case basis that is unique to the organisation under inspection.
2.2. Consequences of Intrapreneurship
Neessen, Caniëls, Vos and Jong (2018) conducted a review of 106 intrapreneurship related articles from 1989 to 2017 and found that no article made the direct connection between individual intrapreneurship and the organisational outcomes of this behaviour, showing that intrapreneurship is extremely complex to measure and has not been researched in depth. The researchers did however find that, although limited in research, intrapreneurial outcomes (new product/innovation development, self-renewal and new business venturing) were considered valid and thus still used in research. For this study, I will highlight performance and innovation as consequences of intrapreneurship.
2.2.1. Performance and renewal
Kuratko, Acs and Audretsch (2010) outline the organisational consequences of intrapreneurship as strategic renewal, development of core competencies, increased market share and new corporate ventures, amongst others. Firstly, the organisation benefits from strategic renewal in terms of growth by exploiting under-utilised resources, dispersing risk to reduce costs and divesting or outsourcing non-core activities. Secondly, their research summarised literature to illustrate that middle (non-corporate) and lower-level management are the hub through which organisational knowledge is processed. This is particularly important as those managers who have intrapreneurial intentions can physically process that knowledge efficiently, effectively and resourcefully to maximise the output of their decisions. Thirdly, their research found that novelty is the foundation of successful entrepreneurial opportunities.
Thus, in organisations experiencing accelerating change, intrapreneurship is arguably
extremely valuable as it directly influences organisational performance (renewal, core competencies and market share).
Urban and Wood (2017) state that innovation is closely related to intrapreneurship. Innovation directly relates to firm performance and interrelates with opportunity recognition and opportunity exploration (Devece, Peris-Ortiz & Rueda-Armengot, 2016). They further state that innovation in itself is a motivating factor for an intrapreneur. Davidsson (2015) expands on this by stating that intrapreneurs are those who identify opportunities where the organisation can be innovative in order to create a competitive advantage. This is important for organisations to consider as innovations created by an intrapreneur can consequentially be the vehicle necessary to drive the organisation to success in terms of growth and performance.
2.3. Antecedents of Intrapreneurship 2.3.1. Personality
Van Ness et al. (2020) refer to personality as distinguishing aspects of an individual that can be used as the basis for future behaviour predictions. They describe the Big Five traits concept that could be used to model an individual as entrepreneurial, and ultimately intrapreneurial when in a corporate setting.
The components of the Big Five traits are as follows:
(1) Extroversion: suggests that an individual is energetic, highly social and assertive in their behaviour.
(2) Agreeableness: suggests that an individual is passive, traditional and dependent.
(3) Neuroticism: a person who is self-confident and emotionally stable is low on neuroticism.
(4) Conscientiousness: refers to an individual’s tenacity, achievement, work motivation and ability to exercise self-control.
(5) Openness to new experiences: individuals who are curious, open minded, original and reasonable.
Since intrapreneurs make use of the same unique characteristics as entrepreneurs, these traits extend to intrapreneurs. Tur Porcar and Ribeiro Soriano (2018:9) posit that, from a psychological perspective, an individual’s personality directly influences their intention towards entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship. Zhou et al. (2019) examined the effect of individual personality on individual entrepreneurial intention and entrepreneurial success to find whether the relationship between an individual’s personality and entrepreneurship is driven by an individual’s Big Five trait scores, or by their idiosyncratic configuration of personality traits. Their research found that, except for agreeableness, all Big Five traits have a significant and strong relationship with entrepreneurial intention – suggesting that there is a consistent pattern of personality traits in intra/entrepreneurs. All Big Five traits also have a significant relationship with entrepreneurial success, a factor that corporate level would find greatly beneficial. More specifically, they found that individuals that had a profile comprising of high conscientiousness, low agreeableness and high openness to new experiences have strong entrepreneurial intention. Interestingly, if such an individual has a profile with high openness experience, they have a strong perception of entrepreneurial success, meaning that they may not need to score extremely high on other traits to ascertain whether their own intrapreneurial decisions may become successful. Their research also acknowledges that these traits and profiles are predispositions and can be changed with considerable effort, thus should
not be viewed as permanent and unchangeable, but rather as a nascent window into determining the effects of personality on entrepreneurial intention. Since intrapreneurs are seen as those individuals who act entrepreneurially within an existing organisation, these traits can be extended to intrapreneurs.
Woo (2018) highlighted that prior research stated that (1) extroversion and (5) openness were essential elements of intrapreneurship but also considered (4) conscientiousness as the primary motivational trait to acting entrepreneurially and thus intrapreneurially. This is thought- provoking as it is then possible that individuals do not need to score high on all five personality traits to be successful intrapreneurs. For example, individuals with an openness to new experiences being able to perceive entrepreneurial success, may filter out bad opportunity ideas, making them seem not intrapreneurial on the surface even though, by virtue of their insightful perception, they are still acting intrapreneurially.
Douglas and Fitzsimmons (2012) found support in their research that intrapreneurship and entrepreneurship are separate constructs in terms of individual personality. Their research found that entrepreneurial personalities are more motivated by income and tolerate risk less when compared to intrapreneurial personalities. This is logical as intrapreneurs are making decisions with their organisation’s resources and their risk is far less personal. Further, intrapreneurs use their innovations and skillset to better the organisation and may not necessarily see the outcome of their work in their income directly. It takes time to realise the impact and repercussions of intrapreneurial decision-making, so income is unlikely to be affected in the short-term, whereas entrepreneurs have a much closer relationship with their business’ finances and how that affects their income, explaining the differences in personality that are applicable to entrepreneurs when compared to intrapreneurs. This finding is noteworthy
for organisation policymakers, as the organisation should to be attentive that intrapreneurs are not losing out on opportunities due to lacking income motivation, but also that intrapreneurs are more likely to stay loyal to the organisation and not branch out into their own businesses due to the benefits that their risk tolerance affords them in their intrapreneurial decisions within the organisation. Finally, individuals who are conscientious may be successful intrapreneurs without openness to new opportunities or extroversion, so long as their work ethic and tenacity is nurtured and embraced by the organisation’s leadership style, culture and strategy [organisational entrepreneurship].
2.3.2. Corporate characteristics
R. Mavi, N. Mavi and Goh (2016) state that individual motivations and obstacles are most likely dependent on the organisation’s environment and circumstances in terms of culture, leadership style and strategy. Corporate-level management’s words and actions can have a significant influence on the organisation’s culture (Kilmann, Saxton, & Serpa, 1985). Culture dictates what is considered appropriate behaviour in the workplace (Hofstede, 1980). Cultures that display management support (corporate level managers facilitating and supporting entrepreneurial behaviour) and work autonomy (corporate level managers tolerating reasonable failure and allowing for decision and action responsibility) stimulate lower-level managers to behave intrapreneurially (Hornsby, Kuratko & Zahra, 2002). Van de Ven and Poole (1995) assume that successful intrapreneurship is as a result of deliberate actions performed by individuals. Organisations that are strongly entrepreneurial therefore focus on innovation, resulting in more focus on exploitative and exploratory opportunities (Shane and Venkataram, 2000). I argue that organisations that are autocratic and punish failure (low organisational entrepreneurship) will see low levels of intrapreneurship in lower-level management.
When lower-level managers perceive the organisational environment as having a fair level of tolerance for failure and errors when pursuing innovation, they will be more inclined to direct the organisation’s strategy with intrapreneurial thinking (Augusto Felício, Rodrigues &
According to Altinay and Wang (2001), an individual’s previous experience promotes a
“cognitive framework” that facilitates pattern recognition and how decisions are made when faced with risk and uncertainty. An employee that is punished for trying and failing, will psychologically deteriorate, even when behaving characteristically intrapreneurial. The impact of this level of corporate risk tolerance is two-fold, an entrepreneurial leadership style can both spark lower-level intrapreneurship and amplify those that do fit the model intrapreneur – both positively affecting the organisation’s growth/economic development.
In their study of 217 medium-sized Portuguese companies, Augusto Felício, Rodrigues and Caldeirinha (2012) found support for their hypotheses that (1) intrapreneurship is explained by innovation, risk propensity when faced with uncertainty and new challenges, competitive energy, proactivity and autonomy and (2) intrapreneurship positively influences the growth and improvement of companies. However, their study also did not find support for their hypotheses that intrapreneurship positively influenced productivity or financial performance.
This seems logical, as intrapreneurship or intrapreneurial behaviour is intangible and complex, making it extremely challenging to measure, let alone measure against financial performance.
This is not to say that intrapreneurship does not have an impact on financial performance, but rather that the effect of intrapreneurship on financial performance is not explicitly evident.
Organisations should still promote that intrapreneurship is desirable. An intrapreneur’s actions today may catalyse organisational transformation and success in five years, however, that
success cannot be directly measured against the initial intrapreneurial input, but rather as the sum of sequential, possibly additionally intrapreneurial, decisions and actions. Thus, even though we do not have the research to prove a direct positive relationship between intrapreneurship and organisation financial performance, it is important to acknowledge that the impact on financial performance may take several years to reach fruition and thus should not be a hinderance in promoting intrapreneurship. This expands the discussion that intrapreneurship is as complex as the individuals who harness and exploit it.
In terms of organisational structures that facilitate and display entrepreneurial behaviour, Ireland Covin and Kuratko (2009) refer to structural organicity as being core. Organisations with greater structural organicity, as contrasted to mechanistic structures, implies the tendency to have decentralized decision making, loose rules and process flexibility. These attributes are consistent with an entrepreneurial organisation and can thus be seen as antecedents for promoting intrapreneurship within their employees.
2.3.3. The incentives for intrapreneurial behaviour
Now that we know the personality traits that describe an intrapreneur (2.3.1) and the environment in which they operate (2.3.2), Porter and Lawler’s (1968) expectancy theory provides a perspective on what motivates/incentivises employees to behave intrapreneurially.
Their model suggests that motivation is determined by:
(1) effort-reward probability - effort expended will result in positive and valuable outcome.
(2) the intrapreneur’s perceived value of the rewards presented - how desirable the reward is to the intrapreneur.
According to de Villiers-Scheepers (2011), monetary incentives are not the most important motivator for intrapreneurs. In their study, de Villiers-Scheepers (2011) found that intrapreneurs are motivated by social-focused incentives; (1) formal acknowledgement for their work, (2) support and recognition of colleagues, (3) encouragement and reinforcement of intrapreneurship are the key motivators of intrapreneurs. It is clear from this that intrapreneurial motivations are more intrinsic and socially set. This is relevant for this study as it strengthens the argument that the determinants of intrapreneurial intention are intrinsic and at the individual-level rather than the corporate-level.
2.3.4. National culture
I am an expatriate in The Netherlands and my respondents will comprise of a mix of South Africans, Dutch and a small portion of North American and Australians. To my knowledge there is no research on intrapreneurship in relation to national culture, however, I foresee that there could be a slight difference in the intrapreneurial intention of certain nations versus others. There is noteworthy research on entrepreneurship in Africa, however, that is solely focussed on self-employed individuals and not relevant for this study. Even though ascertaining the national culture’s effect on intrapreneurship is not the main objective of this study, I want to acknowledge that it may be an interesting route for further research.
2.4. Hypothesis development
The organisation’s corporate level consciously manufactures the organisational culture and landscape. Organisational corporate cultures that display management support, work autonomy and tolerating reasonable failure are considered as entrepreneurial organisations. An
entrepreneurial organisation can enjoy success, innovation and growth by harnessing intrapreneurship that is embedded in their employees. An individual in the organisation that is allowed and empowered to observe opportunities for growth, transforms those observations into actions and explores the boundaries of the organisation, is exercising their intrapreneurial intention. It is logical to deduce that, an individual is likely to make intrapreneurial decisions if they are empowered and motivated by their organisation without detrimental consequences should a negative outcome arise.
Based on this, I hypothesise the following:
Hypothesis 1: An organisation with entrepreneurial characteristics (entrepreneurial leadership style, culture and strategy) has a positive relationship with lower-level
management’s intrapreneurial intention.
Individual employee’s personalities undoubtedly have an impact on their intrapreneurial intention. Based on my literature review, individuals who are energetic, assertive and social are labelled as extroverted, one of the Big Five personality traits that is classifiably intrapreneurial. The same holds true for the remaining Big Five traits (with the exception of agreeableness) where individuals that are conscientious, emotionally stable (rank low on neuroticism) and open to new experiences are considered to have higher intrapreneurial intention.
Conscientiousness refers to an individual’s tenacity, achievement, work motivation and ability to exercise self-control in a general sense (Van Ness et al., 2020). It is logical to deduce that individuals who are tenacious and motivated to achieve would enact intrapreneurial behaviour
as they are more likely to push through gruelling and unstimulating tasks that are presented when running an organisation. I therefore hypothesise the following:
Hypothesis 2a: The higher an intrapreneur’s conscientiousness the higher their individual intrapreneurial intention.
Individuals who are intellectually curious, open minded, originally creative and reasonable would be considered as being open to new experiences (Van Ness et al., 2020). This trait differs from conscientiousness in that it is not directly related to mental ability, like conscientiousness, but is rooted in an individual’s intellect and ability to be creative and divergent. As innovation is a significant contributor to intrapreneurship, it is logical that individuals who are curious and willing to explore the ideas that arise from their creativity intend to act intrapreneurially. A simple example would be an individual who looks at the world around them observantly and open-mindedly, identifies a potential disruptor in the market and thus develops a high interest in acting on that opportunity (i.e., developing their intrapreneurial intention). This leads me to my next hypothesis:
Hypothesis 2b: The higher an intrapreneur’s openness to new experiences the higher their individual intrapreneurial intention.
Individuals who are energetic, highly social, warm and assertive are considered to be extroverted (Van Ness et al., 2020). Since the above characteristics are manifestations of positive emotions, extroverted individuals are arguably more likely to seek high-activity, exciting work with an optimistic approach. An intrapreneurial career may generally be more stimulating, high-activity and exciting when compared to traditional careers and thus more
appealing to extroverted individuals. Further, intrapreneurial individuals are seen as leaders or display significant leadership ability because they are assertive, social and high energy (Zhao, Seibert & Lumpkin, 2009). It is logical to deduce that the more extroverted an individual, the more likely their extroverted predispositions will enable and entice them to act intrapreneurially (higher intrapreneurial intention). I hypothesise the following:
Hypothesis 2c: The higher an intrapreneur’s extroversion the higher their individual intrapreneurial intention.
An individual who is self-confident and emotionally stable ranks low on neuroticism. Ranking low on neuroticism means that the individual is typically resilient and stable in the face of pressure and uncertainty – they persevere where highly neurotic individuals may be discouraged by hurdles and complications as they are vulnerable to psychological stress (Zhao, Seibert & Lumpkin, 2009). Intrapreneurs generally take personal responsibility for their work.
Those who are highly neurotic are unlikely to take on personal responsibility for their role and thus are far less likely to have intrapreneurial intentions. Essentially, the less neurotic, or rather, the more emotionally stable an individual is, the more likely they are to have intrapreneurial intentions due to their stability in the face of stress and uncertainty and willingness to take responsibility of their work, using potential negative feedback constructively for the benefit of themselves and the organisation. I hypothesise the following:
Hypothesis 2d: The higher an intrapreneur’s emotional stability the higher their individual intrapreneurial intention.
As discussed, intrapreneurs are the drivers that recognise opportunities and act on them to benefit the organisation. The organisational leadership behaves entrepreneurially by stimulating lower-level management through providing the environment and culture that will allow lower-level managers to thrive as intrapreneurs. If these lower-level managers already possess personalities that display intrapreneurship, higher levels of organisational entrepreneurship can amplify the lower-level managers intention to act intrapreneurially. If the lower-level manager does not possess a highly intrapreneurial personality, a highly entrepreneurial organisation can still empower employees, consequently increasing the value of their output. Conversely, organisations with weak entrepreneurial characteristics and behaviours can stifle intrapreneurial personalities, rendering less than optimal output.
Organisations with weak entrepreneurial characteristics can completely extinguish lower-level managers that do not display inherently intrapreneurial personalities, resulting in an unhappy employee with subsequent lacklustre results for the organisation. This is an expansion of Hypothesis 1 and the keystone of this study.
Hypothesis 3a: Organisations that are determined as more(less) entrepreneurial will have an amplified(weakened) positive relationship with an individual’s intrapreneurial intention
when an individual’s personality is more(less) intrapreneurial.
A simple, rudimentary example would be a comparison to the skill of painting. In this example, an individual, person A, ranking highly on the BFI personality traits [is intrapreneurial] has the
‘natural’ talent to paint. An entrepreneurial organisation will, hypothetically, allow this intrapreneur to flourish and create a priceless masterpiece. Additionally, the entrepreneurial organisation would empower an individual, person B, who did not rank as highly on the BFI personality traits [less intrapreneurial] to learn the skill of painting and become a confident
painter. They may not produce masterpieces, and may even have several unusable artworks, but they could create profitable artwork for the organisation, nevertheless. The hypothetical organisation now has both a priceless masterpiece and profitable artwork. If the organisation was not entrepreneurial in this case, person A may not create a priceless masterpiece and person B may not succeed at all or take significantly longer to learn how to paint and succeed, at the expense of their own personal growth and the organisation. In this case, the organisation, as a result of its non-entrepreneurial approach, now has mediocre artwork and unhappy employees.
2.5. Conceptual Framework
Based on this study, I have developed a conceptual model (Figure 1) that illustrates my hypotheses as the relationships between Intrapreneurial intention and Entrepreneurial organisation (H1), the relationship between the Individual personality and their Intrapreneurial intention (H2) and the moderation effect that Individual personality has on the relationship between Entrepreneurial organisation and intrapreneurial intention (H3).
Figure 1: The Conceptual Framework of the relationship between organisational characteristics relating to entrepreneurship and individual
• Emotional stability
• Conscientiousness H1
I expect to see the following results when conducting this research. Graph 1 illustrates entrepreneurial corporate characteristics (x-axis) from low to high entrepreneurial characteristics. On the y axes, from low to high, the likelihood of individual managers to act intrapreneurially within an existing organisation (intrapreneurial intention). The assumption in this graph is that a 5 and above on the y-axis are likely to engage in intrapreneurship and below are not likely to engage in intrapreneurship. It is evident in this graph that entrepreneurial corporate characteristics not only amplify individuals that are model entrepreneurs but also that even those who do not have an entrepreneurial personality still intend on acting entrepreneurially.
Graph 1: Expected relationship between level of entrepreneurial organisation and intrapreneurial intention moderated by individual personality
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18
1 2 3 4 5
Level of Entreprenurial Organisation
Entrepreneurial personality Not Entrepreneurial Personality
3. Research method
I created a 53-item survey using cited and validated scales, along with demographic and control questions. Respondents were invited to participate as long as they met the following criteria:
(1) they have a job where they have some level of responsibility and decision making.
(2) they fall under the categories of lower-level management. This means that they are not self-employed, part of upper management or corporate management/directors.
Failing to meet these criteria will terminate the survey and the response will not be recorded.
In my online survey, I provided an error message for all respondents that were Management, Upper Management or self-employed as they would then not be able to continue with the survey. This would reduce the number of nullified responses.
3.1. Sampling strategy
The sample used in this research consists of 104 (N=104) individuals surveyed. I posted my survey on my personal LinkedIn profile and requested my network to fill out the survey. I further asked participants to share the survey with a friend or partner to increase the degree of random participant selection (random sampling) in the aim of mitigating respondent bias when using a personal network. Since all surveys are filled out anonymously, I cannot confidently ascertain whether respondents shared the survey with a friend or partner, and if they did, I could not measure if this mitigation was sufficiently successful. If a response was completed less than 20%, I judged the survey incomplete and removed it from the sample. Qualtrics, the survey tooling used, registers respondents that opened the survey link but did not click on further. I judged these as unusable as 0% of the questions were answered and thus, I removed them from
the sample. I received 139 responses of which 35 were incomplete, or otherwise unusable. The survey aimed to investigate respondent perceptions of the organisation they work for, their personal intrapreneurial intention and the characteristics that define them in terms to the Big Five traits.
3.2.1. Individual personality
In order to ascertain the respondent’s personality, I used the well-known and extensively cited Big Five Inventory (BFI) (Appendix A). I will be asking 35 of the 44 questions (with the exception of the questions relating to agreeableness) using a 5-point scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree) to collect data in order to group respondents according to their personality strengths. The respondents that, on average, score high on extroversion, conscientiousness, openness to new experiences and emotional stability will then be considered as highly intrapreneurial individuals. The respondents that score low on extroversion, conscientiousness, openness to new experiences and emotional stability will be grouped as less intrapreneurial individuals. This data will be used to measure against the organisational characteristics questions that will map out whether an organisation is high on entrepreneurial characteristics or low on entrepreneurial characteristics. An example of an item used is “I see myself as someone… who is original, comes up with new ideas”.
3.2.2. Entrepreneurial organisation/leadership
I followed Renko et al. (2015) definition of an entrepreneurial organisation discussed in the literature review of this paper. I used the ENTRELEAD-scale with the aim of showing the
direct impact of entrepreneurial leadership has on encouraging employees to behave entrepreneurially within their organisation (intrapreneurial behaviour). This 8-item scale (Appendix C) measures employee perception of the level of entrepreneurial behaviour they observe in their organisation via leadership actions. Respondents rated each item on a 7-point scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree) according to their direct manager/supervisor’s leadership. An example of an item used is “My manager/supervisor…
wants me to challenge the current ways we do business”.
3.2.3. Intrapreneurial intention
Douglas and Fitzsimmons (2012) developed scale items to measure intrapreneurial intention based on entrepreneurial self-efficacy scale developed by the frequently cited Chen et al.
(1998) and their adapted scale items had desirable factor loadings of greater than .75. I followed on and measured intrapreneurial intention using a 7-point scale from 1 (very unlikely) to 7 (very likely) using Douglas and Fitzsimmons’ (2012) 3 items measuring intention to engage in intrapreneurial activities (Appendix B). An example item used is “How likely is it that you would want to manage (within your employer’s business) a new division that is set up to explore radical innovation?”.
3.2.4. Demographic and control
I asked several demographic questions to further group respondents into categories. These questions covered gender, age, tenure with current employer, education, industry and current occupational level (e.g., clerical or managerial). I asked the industry the respondent worked in and what their tenure is with their current manager to observe if there is any correlation for
future research into industries that promote intrapreneurship or if there is a relationship between intrapreneurship and length of tenure with current manager.
3.3.1. Control variables
In this study, I controlled for eight control variables: Age, Gender, Occupation level, Length at current employer, Education, Industry and Country of residence.
3.3.2. Independent variables
Personality and Entrepreneurial Organisation. Personality comprises of 4 different variables namely, Extroversion, Openness to new experiences, Conscientiousness and Neuroticism. As Neuroticism is negative compared to all other Personality variables that are positive, Neuroticism was recoded to Emotional stability.
3.3.3. Dependent variable
Intrapreneurial intention is the dependent variable in this study.
4.1. Diagnostic approach
I started with the data clean up by removing incomplete/nullifiable responses and recoding the necessary items in the scales used. I then recoded all items under Neuroticism in order to have positive direction responses in the same way as for Extroversion, Openness and Conscientiousness. This recoded variable was labelled as Emotional stability. Next, I assessed the normality of the data in all the variables. Once complete I assessed the reliability scores of my scales and upon desirable reliability, aggregated each set of items per personality trait to develop the following variables: Extroversion, Openness, Conscientiousness, Emotional stability and Entrepreneurial organisation.
I then tested for correlations to develop a correlation matrix to assess for multicollinearity and observe if any undesirable effects were present. This was followed by a regression analysis of the control variables, Personality variables and Entrepreneurial organisation. To measure interaction/moderation effects, I conducted a regression analysis of the control variables, Personality variables, Entrepreneurial organisation and all interaction effects. This final model was then used to test my hypotheses.
No significant issues lead to concern from this diagnostic approach, however, I will acknowledge that there may be an inherent bias present due to using my personal network for collecting the data. A larger, more varied sample would provide stronger relationships and more clear insight.
4.2. Descriptive statistics
Geographically, 70% of respondents were living in the Netherlands at the time of the survey and 24% living in Southern Africa. This is expected, as I am a South African expat living in the Netherlands, naturally my respondents will follow suit, especially since I used my personal network. The use of a personal network was also evident in observing the reported industry of respondents, where 35% were in the “Media and Creative” industry, the same industry as I am in at the time of conducting this study. In terms of industry, this is not of much concern as 65%
of respondents were spread over several other industries. Respondents were slightly more female (59%) when compared to male (39%) and other (2%) genders. 92% of respondents were between the age of 18 and 34 with most respondents selecting the 25-34 category.
More than 70% of respondents selected Professional as their occupation level. This is a logical finding as most respondents are from my personal network, are most likely to be at the Professional level, as I am too. Interestingly, 67% of respondents have been with their current employer for 3 years or less with 31% being with their current employer for 1-2 years. All respondents had at least a college diploma – 62% of respondents had a bachelor’s degree and 32% of respondents had master’s degrees.
In terms of Entrepreneurial organisation, on average, respondents ranked their organisations at 4.56 out of 7, with a standard deviation (SD) of 1.24. This means that, most respondents felt that their organisation leadership had high levels of entrepreneurship. On average, respondents scored 5.13 out of 7 for Intrapreneurial intention, with SD of 1.41. This means that most respondents were keen on acting intrapreneurially within their organisation.
When it comes to personality, the following standout results occurred on average: respondents ranked themselves at 3.5 out of 5 for Extroversion (SD of 0.73); 3.1 out of 5 for Emotional stability, (SD of 0.83); 3.8 out of 5 for Conscientiousness, (SD of 0.51); 3.8 out of 5 for Openness, (SD of 0.56).
Interestingly, there was no respondent who ranked themselves at 5 out of 5 for Emotional stability. This could imply that the data, although normally distributed, may not provide a complete picture of the population as a whole, and future studies would get more substantiated results with a larger sample. Since this research was conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic, it would be interesting to study and assess if there is a correlation between emotional stability and the pandemic in 2020. It is therefore possible that, if there was no pandemic, there would be an even stronger relationship between Emotional stability and Intrapreneurial intention. The minimum average ranking was recorded in Conscientiousness, at 3 out of 5.
That means, that on average, no respondent disagreed or strongly disagreed that they behaved conscientiously. This could potentially be explained by the sampling strategy in that respondents came from my personal network. Since I work in a professional industry (Project Management/Marketing), it could be argued that professionals are more conscientious by definition of what is required from them at work (most professional company cultures value motivated and tenacious employees). Additionally, taking part in the survey could be a manifestation of conscientiousness as individuals are motivated to provide their help and input.
Even though the BFI was developed to avoid biases and inaccurate measures of self, it is important to note that respondents, by nature, evaluate themselves less critically than when evaluated by a trained, neutral professional. The implication of this is that the reader be aware that the results of this study may be slightly inaccurate, however still relevant as it is
exceptionally difficult for research to be conducted in a perfect manner when it comes to extremely complex concepts like personality and individual intention.
4.3. Normality tests
Normality tests were conducted for all variables. For all variables, with exception of Intrapreneurial intention, data was recorded as normally distributed and well within the acceptable range of skewness and kurtosis. For Intrapreneurial intention, kurtosis was within the acceptable range of -1 and 1 and skewness recorded slightly over the acceptable range of at -1.02, making it slightly negatively skewed. However, being so slightly over the acceptable range is unremarkable with a sufficiently large sample size (N > 100), deviations from normality should not have a significant impact on results.
4.4. Reliability analysis 4.4.1. Extroversion scales
The Extroversion scales have high reliability, with Cronbach’s Alpha = .82. The corrected item-total correlations indicate that all the items have a good correlation with the total score of the scale (all above .30). Also, none of the items would substantially affect reliability if they were deleted.
4.4.2. Conscientiousness scales
The Conscientiousness scales have moderately high reliability, with Cronbach’s Alpha = .660.
This was acknowledged as a potentially noisy variable, however, is very close to the ideal of a
Cronbach’s Alpha less than 0.7. The corrected item-total correlations indicate that all the items have a good correlation with the total score of the scale (all above .30). Also, none of the items would substantially affect reliability if they were deleted. Therefore, in the interest of maintaining content validity for the BFI index as a whole, Conscientiousness scales will not be removed from the study.
4.4.3. Emotional stability scales
The Neuroticism (recoded as emotional stability) scales have high reliability, with Cronbach’s Alpha = .857. The corrected item-total correlations indicate that all the items have a good correlation with the total score of the scale (all above .30). Also, none of the items would substantially affect reliability if they were deleted.
4.4.4. Openness to new experiences scales
The Openness to new experiences (Openness) scales have high reliability, with Cronbach’s Alpha = .754. The corrected item-total correlations indicate that all the items have a good correlation with the total score of the scale (all above .30). Also, none of the items would substantially affect reliability if they were deleted.
4.4.5. Intrapreneurial intention scales
The Intrapreneurial Intention scales have high reliability, with Cronbach’s Alpha = .811. The corrected item-total correlations indicate that all the items have a good correlation with the
total score of the scale (all above .30). Also, none of the items would substantially affect reliability if they were deleted.
4.4.6. Entrepreneurial organisation scales
The Entrepreneurial Organisation scales have very high reliability, with Cronbach’s Alpha = .891. The corrected item-total correlations indicate that all the items have a good correlation with the total score of the scale (all above .30). Also, none of the items would substantially affect reliability if they were deleted.
4.5. Correlation analysis
In order to perform a correlation analysis, scale items were aggregated to develop mean variables provided in Table 1. All scales had satisfactory Cronbach’s alphas as discussed above, so reliability is not of concern.
Variable α Mean SD Extroversion Emotional
Stability Conscientiousness Openness Intrapreneurial Intention
Entrepreneurial Organisation Extroversion .82 3.50 0.73
Stability .86 3.11 0.83 0.29**
Conscientiousness .66 3.77 0.51 0.12 0.23*
Openness .75 3.79 0.56 0.24* 0.10 -0.01
Intention .85 5.13 1.41 0.17 0.25* 0.23* 0.12
Organisation .89 4.56 1.24 0.00 -0.08 -0.05 0.04 0.20
Table 1: Correlation matrix
** Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level -2-tailed.
* Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level -2-tailed.
The correlation between Emotional stability and Extroversion is a weak but statistically significant (r=0.29, p<0.05). Further, there is a weak but statistically significant correlation between Openness and Extroversion (r=0.24, p<0.05). None of the independent variables mentioned above had strong correlations between each other, and this insight will be taken into consideration in the results discussion section of this study.
In terms of correlations between independent and dependent variables, there is a statistically significant, but weak correlation between Emotional stability and Intrapreneurial intention (r=0.25, p<0.05). There is also a statistically significant, but weak correlation between Conscientiousness and Intrapreneurial intention (r=0.23, p<0.05).
4.6. Regression analysis
4.6.1. Regression analysis: Control variables (linear)
R Adjusted R2 B SE β t Significance
Model 1: control variables .339 .05 .107
Occupation level .31 .21 .16 1.47 .15
Age .61 .27 .24* 2.26 .03
Gender -.13 .24 -.06 -.54 .59
Employment length (current) -.15 .09 -.17 -1.64 .11
Education .28 .27 .11 1.05 .30
Industry -.03 .04 -.09 -.91 .36
Country of residence .01 .01 .15 1.44 .15
Table 2: Regression analysis of only control variables Dependent Variable: Intrapreneurial Intention
* Statistically significant: p < .05
A regression was performed on the control variables to investigate the ability of these control variables to predict levels of Intrapreneurial intention. Seven predictors were entered:
Occupational level, Age, Gender, Employment length, Education, Industry and Country of residence. This model was not statistically significant (R2=.05, F (7, 94) = 1.75; p= .11 > .05).
Observing the control variables individually, only Age had a significant effect in predicting Intrapreneurial Intention and this will be used in the next model.
4.6.2. Regression analysis: Personality (linear)
R Adjusted R2 B SE β t Significance
Model 1: Control variables .339 .049 .107
Model 2: Personality .371 .094* .012
Age .45 .25 .18 1.78 .008
Extroversion .11 .20 .06 .562 .58
Emotional stability .29 .17 .17 1.67 .10
Conscientiousness .39 .27 .14 1.44 .15
Openness .21 .25 .08 .84 .40
Table 3: Regression analysis of control variables and personality variables Dependent Variable: Intrapreneurial Intention
* Statistically significant: p < .05
An additional regression was performed on the independent variables of Personality, controlling for Age, to investigate the ability of these variables, as a model, to predict levels of Intrapreneurial intention. Five predictors were entered: Age, Extroversion, Emotional stability, Conscientiousness and Openness. This model recorded as statistically significant (R2=.045, F(5, 97)= 3.11; p= .012 < .05).
The introduction of Extroversion, Emotional stability, Conscientiousness and Openness explained an additional 4.5% variance in intrapreneurial intention, after controlling for Age.