Inculcating Intrapreneurship Among Employees

By Professor Brian WongEmbracing an entrepreneurial mindset often entails seeking independence over conventional employment, driven by a desire for autonomy.It involves establishing and managing one; ‘s business, and accepting risks for potential financial rewards. An entrepreneur is typically portrayed as …

Inculcating Intrapreneurship Among Employees

By Professor Brian Wong

Embracing an entrepreneurial mindset often entails seeking independence over conventional employment, driven by a desire for autonomy.

SWINSays Swinburne Sarawak

It involves establishing and managing one; ‘s business, and accepting risks for potential financial rewards. An entrepreneur is typically portrayed as someone passionate about business ownership, pursuing financial prosperity, and liberating themselves from the constraints of traditional employment.

At its roots, the term ‘enterprise’ linguistically signifies “an undertaking.” Tracing back to the 1800s when the term ‘entrepreneur’ first emerged, it denoted an individual involved in undertaking or management. Notably, its inception did not initially connote business ownership but rather suggested a role in management or promotion.

Unravelling the genuine essence embedded in the term ‘entrepreneur’ inspires a curiosity to question and delve deeper into the conventional understanding of entrepreneurship in the business realm, aiming to resurrect its authentic meaning.

Traits of a Successful Entrepreneur

Previous research revealed success as an entrepreneur doesn’t solely hinge on passion or business skills. Instead, effective entrepreneurship is realistically defined by traits like ‘Resourcefulness’, ‘Innovativeness’, ‘Enterprising’ and ‘Perseverance,’ highlighting a nuanced set of characteristics crucial for entrepreneurial triumph beyond conventional notions.

Acquiring an enterprising mindset is attainable through business education, where the cultivation of innovative thinking depends on the willingness of educators to embrace new ideas and the availability of pertinent facilities within educational institutions.

In contrast, resourcefulness and perseverance emerge as qualities forged through the ongoing journey of self-awareness and adaptation, shaped by external educational influences and environmental stimuli, as well as the internalization of principles of human governance and a growth-oriented mindset.

Recognizing these attributes, the term ‘entrepreneur’ extends beyond business owners to encompass employees who approach their employer’s business with an owner’s perspective. This perspective may elucidate the varying degrees of commitment among employees, making them an intrapreneur.

The common belief revolves around external motivators, such as rewards or consequences, influencing employee performance. Perhaps the crucial factor lies within the individual, possessing an intrapreneurial mindset that propels them to think beyond the confines of a mere employee role and instead consider the organization as their own. 

From Education to Intrapreneurship

The industry is inundated with numerous studies and training programs on leadership, perpetuating the notion that employees must exhibit leadership capabilities for organizational advancement. Despite the expectation for every employee to harbour leadership skills, a critical question arises: does the organization possess a structure and system that facilitates the practice of leadership by all employees in a tangible way

Analogously, pondering whether it’s prudent for every employee to assume the role of team leader prompts consideration. If not, how can the organization ensure that all employees effectively contribute to the team’s positivity, playing their roles harmoniously to secure success?

Humanistic Intrapreneurship: A Holistic Approach

To address the concerns, I suggest a thought-provoking perspective by emphasizing the pivotal role of self-reflection and self-awareness in redefining the term ‘intrapreneur.’ The assertion that work performance in the organizational setting isn’t solely tethered to external factors like compensation or a favourable work environment challenges conventional beliefs.

Instead, it highlights the intrinsic factors such as self-governance capability, a growth mindset, and the ability to integrate into the organization as a unified entity. The concepts of “Oneness” and “Wholeness” bring forth an intriguing framework, suggesting that team members, when aligned with these principles, can grasp the bigger picture and contribute meaningfully to organizational success.

The call to nurture an intrapreneurial mindset among employees by transcending the silo mentality and embracing an organization- and society-driven approach is desired. The emphasis on cultivating a non-technical skill set, encompassing qualities like resilience, passion, ownership, risk-taking, and independence, reflects a holistic perspective. The critique of individuals who prioritize personal wealth and exhibit a self-centred approach, potentially neglecting the human aspect of their responsibilities, resonates with the need for a balanced focus.

The caution against a myopic self-centred approach, which might lead to a blame game and a pursuit of easy solutions, is a valid concern in business sustainability. The assertion that an excessive focus on personal profitability can overshadow the broader organizational well-being adds depth to the concern.

Hence, the integration of the “human” element into the concept of intrapreneurship is essential, giving rise to the Humanistic Intrapreneurial mindset. This noteworthy shift extends beyond merely cultivating entrepreneurial traits; it aspires to foster employees into well-rounded, wholesome beings equipped with a self-developed skill set deemed essential by the global society in the contemporary era. This departure from a singular focus on entrepreneurship to a broader personal development framework is intriguing.

While the vision of employees recognizing the meaning of their existence and redefining employability and opportunity is inspiring, a critical perspective would inquire about potential challenges and the adaptability of this approach in various professional landscapes.