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Susanne Neufeld

DBA Graduate - 2015

Thesis title

Schumpeter’s Entrepreneurial Function in Today’s Large Corporation

Supervisor(s)

Peter Augsdorfer
A number of studies investigated Schumpeter’s entrepreneur as well as other entrepreneurial roles and innovation networks within organisations. Schumpeter introduced the entrepreneur and further brought up the entrepreneurial function that is carried out cooperatively in the large corporation. The aim of this study is to find out how the shift of the entrepreneurial function from Schumpeter Mark I to Mark II takes place when different company sizes are taken into consideration. Therefore, this research addresses the division of the entrepreneurial function across corporate functions, organisational hierarchies, activities of entrepreneurs and different intensities. With a qualitative case study approach 97 interviews in six small, seven midsized and eleven large companies were conducted. The analytic technique of cross-case pattern matching was used to identify emerging pattern within and across the small, midsized and large company case studies. The results indicate that the corporate functions of sales and marketing, production and research and development, if existent, are involved in entrepreneurial activities but finance and controlling, human resources as well as procurement are more of supportive nature to the entrepreneurial process across all investigated industries. In addition to that, it appears that people in leadership positions seem to be particularly important for the entrepreneurial function. Thus, an analytical framework was developed that highlights the original contribution to knowledge according to three entrepreneurial roles: the idea generators with a specific relation to sales and marketing, production and research and development, the decision maker and risk taker with regard to management, and the integrator and motivator within the organisational system. These three entrepreneurial roles and their interaction are suggested to show the dilution of Schumpeter’s entrepreneur Mark I to Mark II in the larger corporation with regard to their corporate function. Due to the relatively small sample the study is of limited generalisability. Further research could therefore test the analytic framework with a more quantitative approach.