Intrapreneurship: A modern management essential

It seems like there are more entrepreneurs now than ever before and there is nothing wrong with that. Entrepreneurs are the harbingers of new technologies, innovation and pioneering businesses, as evidenced by the continuous expansion of Silicon Valley.

That said, the expansion of start-ups or small businesses into large multinational conglomerates may have more to do with the grinders behind the scenes, i.e. the executives.

As Mintzberg enlightened us, entrepreneurship is only one of the many components of management. And without the involvement and contribution of managers at different levels of the organization, expansion can often be a daydream.

Furthermore, it is not enough to grow up financially and materialistically. Creating an atmosphere of innovation throughout the organization and thereby making meaningful impacts inclusive is more important if sustainable growth is the intention.

This only becomes feasible when the hired managers also perform like entrepreneurs, i.e. lead like an intrapreneur. This is probably why three out of the fourteen principles of management by Henri Fayol, the pioneer of modern management theory, advocate the necessity of intrapreneurship, i.e. entrepreneurship within the organization.

Subordination of individual interest

For entrepreneurs, the interests of the efforts initiated by them can also be labeled as their interests, even if they are only for the benefit of others.

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Hiring managers must also possess this principle in addition to managing people and resources. This openness will enable the individuals to effectively drive the organization towards its goal subject to the availability of resources. To do this, hired managers must be open enough to accept intrapreneurship in their management approach.

By establishing this quality, they will be able to effectively motivate the key strength of the organization – the people. The most obvious outcome of this will be that beyond the managers, the entire workforce in the organization will learn to harness a uniform mindset that will thoroughly align with the purpose of the organization. Adhering to this characteristic is also necessary for the managers to fit themselves in a modern management environment.

Take the initiative

For an organization to reach greater heights of achievements, it must explore new horizons. Exploring new possibilities shouldn’t just be a top-down approach where the top founder entrepreneur looks for new endeavors alone. Key distinctions of an intrapreneurial manager lie in seeing the opportunity, knowing the feasibility of exploiting said opportunity and mobilizing the productive power to do so. In short, hired managers should strive to further realize their management potential in favor of their organization by taking fruitful and viable initiatives.

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Organizations, where such practices are in force, tend to have much healthier work environments along with improved operational excellence. As a result, hired managers develop a positive sense of belonging and a stronger sense of responsibility as they execute their ideas.

Furthermore, it will enable the upper management to identify who has the tenacity to illuminate the organization more brightly with success if and when greater responsibilities are assigned and assigned in more significant capacities.

Esprit de Corps

Great things are accomplished when there is the existence of inseparable unity, firm optimism and lively enthusiasm. After all, together with unity, this optimism forms the pillars that determine the success of an organization.

Another strong reason to truly embrace this intrapreneurial principle of morale and team spirit is that conviction among the workforce often recoils and they feel tentative about possible outcomes of their efforts. Then comes the part of great managers.

They use their incredible interpersonal skills to unhesitatingly bring their human resources back to progress, unceasingly keeping them united and driving them all towards the organization’s goal.

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In order to do this, the managers must have the genuine ability to positively revive people’s spirit and guide their built-up ambition meaningfully. Above all, they must adhere to this crucial principle of Fayol if the goal is to substantiate the organizational vision.

Finally, intrapreneurs should always strive to come up with much more than what has been brought up about them here to establish their necessity. In addition to being well on track with their organizational ambitions, intrapreneurs can further extend their effectiveness by extending their managerial thoughtfulness beyond the stated goals of the organization for which they manage.

These torchbearers of their self-discovered paths should mentor, guide and develop more intrapreneurs and also entrepreneurs from among their colleagues. Achievements of remarkable things by seeing the opportunity, knowing the feasibility and mobilizing productivity will therefore have an impactful effect as long as the need for management prevails.


Nazma Sultana is the Director, Information Technology at the University of Liberal Arts, Bangladesh. Nafis Ehsas Chowdhury studies business at the United International University and is a columnist. The authors acknowledge valuable insights from AKM Lutfur Rahman, former Director at AISD, a US Embassy.



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