Innovation for Inclusive Business: Intrapreneurial Bricolage in Multinational Corporations

It is often argued that multinational corporations (MNCs) are in a unique position to innovate business models that can help to alleviate poverty. This empirical study into intra-organizational aspects of pro-poor business innovation in two MNCs suggests, however, that certain elements of their management frameworks – such as short-term profit interests, business unit based incentive structures, and uncertainty avoidance – may turn into obstacles that prevent MNCs from reaching their full potential in this respect. We introduce the concept of intrapreneurial bricolage to show how middle manager innovators may promote pro-poor business models despite these obstacles. We define intrapreneurial bricolage as entrepreneurial activity within a large organization characterized by creative bundling of scarce resources, and illustrate empirically how it helps innovators to overcome organizational constraints and to mobilize internal and external resources. Our findings imply that intrapreneurial bricolage may be of fundamental importance in MNC innovation for inclusive business. In addition to the field of inclusive business, this study has implications for the study of bricolage in large organizations and social intrapreneurship, as well for managerial practice around innovation for inclusive business.

Journal or Publication:
Journal of Management Studies
Minna Halme
Sara Lindeman
Paula Linna
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