Business Case Studies, Executive Interviews, Robert A Burgelman on Corporate Entrepreneurship

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Interview with Robert A Burgelman on Corporate Entrepreneurship

April 2007 - By Dr. Nagendra V Chowdary

Corporate entrepreneurship involves an element of chance. I see the chance element, however, more as fortuitous, unexpected new opportunities that arise from the company's competence (and sometimes from its strategic position) that can be expressed by internal entrepreneurs in autonomous initiatives that were not contemplated in the corporate strategy at the time they emerge
— Robert A Burgelman
Effective executive interview with Robert A Burgelman on Corporate Entrepreneurship

Robert A Burgelman is the Edmund W Littlefield Professor of Management and Director of the Stanford Executive Program of the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. He joined Stanford Business School in 1981and teaches courses in "Strategic Management of Technology and Innovation" and "Strategy and Action in the Information Processing Industry." Previously, he was on the faculties of Antwerp University (Belgium), New York University, and Harvard Business School (as a Marvin Bower Fellow). He holds a licenciate degree in Applied Economics from Antwerp University (Belgium, 1969), and an MA in Sociology

(1978) and a Ph.D. in Management of Organizations (1980) from Columbia University, where he studied as a European Doctoral Fellow (Ford Foundation) and ICM Fellow (Belgium). In 2003 he received an honorary doctorate from the Copenhagen Business School for his contribution to the study of corporate innovation.

Prof. Burgelman's research concerns the role of strategy in firm evolution. He has studied, in particular the strategic processes involved in and the adaptive consequences of internal corporate venturing, strategic business exit, and coevolutionary lock-in. His current

research focuses on complex strategic integration in multibusiness firms and on nonlinear strategic dynamics in organizational evolution. He is the author of many articles in leading academic and professional journals. He is the author of Strategy is Destiny: How Strategy-Making Shapes a Company's Future (2002). He is a co-author of Inside Corporate Innovation: Strategy, Structure, and Managerial Skills (1986), and Strategic Management of Technology and Innovation (4th edition, 2004), the leading textbook in the field; and of Strategic Dynamics: Concepts and Cases (2006). During 1988-2002, he served as co-editor of Research on Technological Innovation, Management and Policy (JAI Press). Prof. Burgelman has taught executive programs and led senior and top management seminars for major companies worldwide. He has served as an adviser to company leaders, and on boards of directors and advisory boards of several hightechnology companies.

He can also be reached at

Useful for Understanding of:

  • Different Forms (Schools) of Entrepreneurship
  • Enabling Factors for Corporate Entrepreneurship
  • Strategic Importance and Operational Relatedness as two Dimensions of Identifying new Ventures
  • Roots of Corporate Entrepreneurship
  • Corporate Entrepreneurship in Family Business.
Originally Published in Effective Executive, IUP
Effective Executive Reference No. 03M-2007-04-04-06
IBSCDC Reference No. INT0006
Year and Month of Publication April 2007
Keywords Robert A Burgelman, Different Forms (Schools) of Entrepreneurship, Enabling Factors for Corporate Entrepreneurship, Strategic Importance and Operational Relatedness as two Dimensions of Identifying new Ventures, Roots of Corporate Entrepreneurship, Corporate Entrepreneurship in Family Business

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