Work context and employee behaviour as antecedents for intrapreneurship

  • J. P. C. Rigtering
  • U. Weitzel


Intrapreneurial employees and intrapreneurial projects are considered to be an important driver of innovation and strategic renewal within companies. While many studies addressed the top-down implementation of innovative projects, analyses of employee initiatives in promoting innovation within companies are scarce. This paper therefore takes a bottom-up approach and focuses on employee behaviour and how it can be stimulated towards intrapreneurship. We propose and test a two-step model where formal and informal work context affects employees’ intrapreneurial behaviour, which then provides the basis for bottom-up initiated intrapreneurial projects. Our empirical data consist of questionnaire responses of 176 employees in six Dutch companies. The results of structural equation model estimations indicate that formal organisational factors (horizontal participation, resource availability) affect employees’ intrapreneurial behaviour, but also highlight informal factors such as trust in the direct manager. We also find that innovativeness and personal initiative, but not risk taking, play a role for an effective translation of employees’ behaviour into intrapreneurial projects.


Intrapreneurship Corporate entrepreneurship Entrepreneurial orientation Social exchange theory Trust in manager Organisational structure 



The authors would like to thank the editors of this special issue, Prof. Dr. Jeffery Hornsby, Dr. Iñaki Peña and Dr. Maribel Guerrero, for inviting us to submit our paper. Many thanks also to two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments and to Jessica Krom and Heleen van der Meer for their help with the data collection.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Utrecht University School of EconomicsUtrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands
  2. 2.School of Management, Economics and LawWindesheim University of Applied SciencesZwolleThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Institute for Management ResearchRadboud University NijmegenNijmegenThe Netherlands

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