Role of a CEO in adopting intrapreneurship as an organizational strategy in SMEs

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Intrapreneurship is an effective organizational strategy to enhance the innovation progression in any organization regardless of their size. It is an established field of organizational management research with an impressive history of around 25 years. For any Small Medium Enterprise (SME), an innovation culture that can be attained through intrapreneurial initiatives can add significant competitive advantages to their organizational framework. The roles played by Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) in any organization are vast in terms of involvement with creativity and innovation but there are no substantial researches that clearly identify any of their distinctive management profiles especially in the process of intrapreneurship management. This paper addresses this gap and explores different intrapreneurial management profiles of CEOs in SMEs and how the adoption of these profiles can influence the innovation dynamics of the overall organization. Based on literature review and our earlier detailed study on CEOs from intrapreneurial firms, we identified three key management profiles. We observed that CEOs in some organizations act as the facilitator of intrapreneurship providing different intrapreneurs the support, guidance, resources and an environment to innovate. In cases where entrepreneurs start their own organization, they usually act as the CEO and in such circumstances they dominate as the lead innovator strategizing all the major innovation decisions themselves. In other cases, CEOs tend to have a combination of these two distinct profiles, shuffling in and out of their roles as a facilitator and an innovator based on situational demands. In this paper we have illustrated three cases of successful intrapreneurship management with their distinct CEO profiles and they have been constructed from data primarily derived from semi-structured interviews with the CEOs and different employees from these SMEs, website information, annual reports and site visits. Understanding these distinctive management roles will benefit both CEOs and different organizations in practising intrapreneurial initiatives in an effective manner.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication18th Nordic Conference on Small Business Research, NCSB 2014
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2014
Event18th Nordic Conference on Small Business Research - Bodo, Norway
Duration: 14 May 201416 May 2014


Conference18th Nordic Conference on Small Business Research


  • Intrapreneurship, intrapreneurs, CEO, innovation, organizational complexities, firm performance, SMEs

Cite this