Machine organizations are
structures fine-tuned to run as integrated, regulated, and highly
bureaucratic bodies. Machine organizations have the same basic
characteristics: (a) their operating work is routine, (b) the
greatest part of it is rather simple and repetitive, and (c) their
work processes are highly standardized. In a machine organization,
there is little room for intrapreneurship.
Max Weber (1864-
1920) elaborated the bureaucracy theory to establish a rational basis
for the organization and management of large-scale organizations. For
Weber, bureaucracy meant management by the office (German Büro) or
position rather than by a person or patrimonial. Weber analyzed
bureaucracy as the most logical and rational structure for large
organizations. Bureaucracy was not rule-encumbered inefficiency as
the term connote in modern parlance and characterized machine
Many international organizations are best
examples of machine organizations. Most of them were created after
the World War II. Their agendas and focuses expanded tremendously in
recent years. This vast expansion in mandates and responsibilities
necessitate a change in organizational and management practices.
These organizations can not afford to be a static one anymore and
they need to evolve into agile bodies with rapid deployment
capabilities and multidisciplinary experts capable of handling the
wide range of global issues.
Many scholars and practitioners
argued that strategic intrapreneurship is the best strategy to
rationalize a machine organization. Intrapreneurship can be defined
by its content, and this includes dimensions based on the
Schumpeterian innovation concept, a building block of
entrepreneurship. The pursuit of creative solutions to challenges
confronting the organization, including the development or
enhancement of old and new products and services, markets,
administrative techniques and technologies for performing
organizational functions, as well as changes in strategy, organizing,
and dealing with competitors, may be seen as innovations in the
broadest sense. The increase of intrapreneurship could be a key
component to the success of this form of organizations because they
operate in rapidly changing industries.
to intra-organizational revolutionaries or entrepreneurs within
established organizations. Intrapreneurs try to challenge the status
quo and fight to change the system from within. They are generally
driven by their internal locus of control, reinventing companies,
transforming them, pushing them up to new heights, sometimes with and
most of the times without the top management support.
management of intrapreneurship within an organization is complex for
many reasons. The first reason is the nature of the organizations
(machine organizations, bureaucracy, large and small organizations,
etc.). Entrepreneurship is a context-dependent social process through
which individuals and teams create wealth by bringing together unique
packages of resources to exploit marketplace opportunities.
The second reason is the creation of a viable intrapreneurial
attitude. To create a viable intrapreneurial attitude, the firm must
be sensitive to the nature of its rewards system. While it is true
that many intrapreneurs are more challenge-oriented, that is, the
true intrapreneurs is inspired by success achieved in the face of
obstacles, there comes a time when even the most selfless
intrapreneurs begins to ask, “What is in this for me?”.
Entrepreneurship has been described at both the individual level
(Mintzberg’s standpoint) as well as the organizational level with
Miller and some other scholars. Mintzberg noted that a viable rewards
system is only possible if the concept of entrepreneurship is
associated to the individual level.
The third reason is the
paradox of corporations. Intrapreneurs set corporate innovative
business models and reinvent organizations. The paradox is that
intrapreneurs are not always welcomed in organizations.
Various scholars proposed 10 gateways to intrapreneurship that can
make a real difference in an organization’s ability to compete. These
are: (a) a culture of work force empowerment, risk-taking, and
action; (b) celebrating and rewarding ideas, progress, and results;
(c) free-flowing customer information and internal communication; (d)
management support and engagement at all levels; (e) ongoing
encouragement and promotion of risk taking and new ideas; (f)
developing processes for idea generation and advancement; (g) clearly
defined organizational needs, vision, and direction; (h) developing
better cooperation and teamwork; (i) providing resources to support
new ideas; and (j) cross training and special arrangements. These
gateways can be valuable to corporate executives who need to manage
entrepreneurial style in their organization.
application of these gateways requires innovative leadership
competencies. Organizations whose success depends on innovation
require a leadership style totally different from the one typically
used by most leaders. Whereas leaders of traditional organizations
succeed on their ability to artfully manipulate their environment,
innovation leadership emanates from manager’s creative initiatives,
intellectual preeminence, and technical or unique expertise that is
of value to each individual in the group and which translates to
direct benefits for all.