Entrepreneurs and Intra-entrepreneurs


Vânia Maria Jorge Nassif, Tales Andreassi and Fabíola Simões





Article in focus: Entrepreneurial competences: are there differences between entrepreneurs and intra-entrepreneurs?  

The paper “Entrepreneurial competences: are there differences between entrepreneurs and intra-entrepreneurs?” seeks to identify whether there are competences that distinguish entrepreneurs from intra-entrepreneurs. In this study, an entrepreneur is defined as a person who opens and manages a business. In contrast, an intra-entrepreneur is a person who works within an organization and pursues opportunities, regardless of whether s/he controls the funds.

]The study consisted of interviews with the two groups of respondents and included a total of 13 people. The criteria for choosing the entrepreneur-owners of businesses were as follows: they were based in São Paulo, they were the founders of the company and they worked in the service or commercial sectors. Intra-entrepreneurs were company professionals, designated by their superiors as having an intraentrepreneurial profile because of their actions and achievements.

The results collected were analyzed for content and organized into six response categories. The categories were analyzed and discussed on the basis of the constructs developed for different models of entrepreneurial competence.

With regard to competences, the study identified similarities and divergences between entrepreneurs and intra-entrepreneurs, while noting that the differences were small. Similarities noted by the participants included willpower to pursue activities and enthusiasm and motivation to manage the business.

The two groups revealed different types of concerns. For the group of entrepreneurs, it was essential that the business succeed. The company was their raison d’etre and they felt committed to and responsible for the business. The intraentrepreneurs stated that they liked their work and their activities, noting that their concerns pertained more to the company; for example, they valued superiors recognizing their work, winning prizes and receiving benefits and remuneration. Entrepreneurs also differed from intra-entrepreneurs in that entrepreneursrelated better with employees and were more conscious of long-term investments.

The two groups also differed in the way they viewed opportunities, with company owners drawing upon intuition to a greater extent than did intra-entrepreneurs.

During the study, what caught the attention of the authors were the variables that influenced the life of the entrepreneurs and intra-entrepreneurs at the time they were building their professional career. The role of the family appears to be essential for people to feel secure as the heads of their businesses. For the group analyzed, factors including personal motivation; the challenge of winning and of overcoming difficulties; and actions based on personal perceptions and their own beliefs were more important than profit as an end in itself.

One relevant point of the study addressed understanding how each participant identified business opportunities. The search for and identification of opportunities is what makes the intra-entrepreneur special.

Contact the author Tales Andreassi.  

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