Business Case Studies, Executive Interviews, Robert A Burgelman on Corporate Entrepreneurship

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Executive Interviews: Interview with Robert A Burgelman on Corporate Entrepreneurship
April 2007 - By Dr. Nagendra V Chowdary

Robert A Burgelman
Edmund W Littlefield Professor of Management
Director of the Stanford Executive Program of the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

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  • What are the challenges facing implementation of effective and exemplary corporate entrepreneurship programs?
    As pointed out earlier, corporate entrepreneurship involves an element of chance. I see the chance element, however, more as fortuitous, unexpected new opportunities that arise from the company's competence (and sometimes from its strategic position) that can be expressed by internal entrepreneurs in autonomous initiatives that were not contemplated in the corporate strategy at the time they emerge. In a profound way, an important task of leaders in dynamic environments is to turn such luck into strategy.

    I am reminded of the golfer Gary Player's approach: "I practice at being lucky, and the more I practice the luckier I get."

    I strongly believe that there is still more to be learned about corporate entrepreneurship through rigorous research. We have hardly begun to understand some of the inherent vicious circles, managerial dilemmas, instances of indeterminatedness, and structural and cultural inhibitors that affect the process. Rather than giving up on it, we can learn to do it better. But even as we learn more, responsible advisers will have to continue to emphasize that corporate entrepreneurship will always be hard work and depend on the courage of conviction in the face of reasonable doubt.

1. Leadership and Entrepreneurship Case Studies
2. ICMR Case Collection
3. Case Study Volumes

The Interview was conducted by Dr. Nagendra V Chowdary, Consulting Editor, Effective Executive and Dean, IBSCDC, Hyderabad.

This Interview was originally published in Effective Executive, IUP, April 2007.

Copyright © April 2007, IBSCDC No part of this publication may be copied, reproduced or distributed, stored in a retrieval system, used in a spreadsheet, or transmitted in any form or medium electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without the permission of IBSCDC.

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