Uncovering strategic entrepreneurship: an examination of theory and practice
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The combination of entrepreneurship and strategy is gaining increasing recognition as a pathway for growth within both individual organisations and national economies. Hence the benefits emerge from both a micro and macro economic perspective. Essentially, however, research on strategic entrepreneurship, being the intersection of entrepreneurship and strategy remains in the early stages. While the benefits of combining entrepreneurship and strategy are well established, specific details and underlying elements of strategic entrepreneurship as a concept remain under-developed and unsubstantiated. Prevailing models of strategic entrepreneurship are limited in number, conceptual in nature, and do not yet have practical or empirical support. Thus the question arises as to what constitutes strategic entrepreneurship?In order to address this issue a preliminary framework of strategic entrepreneurship is derived from the literature on both entrepreneurship and strategy, in order to identify the intersection of the two. This framework is then examined in the context of activity which is recognised as both entrepreneurial and strategic within three state-owned enterprises. Thus the research question addressed is:What constitutes strategic entrepreneurship in both theory and practice in the context of SOEs?Based on this examination, six elements are identified as central to strategic entrepreneurship, being opportunity identification, innovation, acceptance of risk, flexibility, vision, and growth. Additional findings uncovered inductively from the data reveal a number of supporting elements which foster strategic entrepreneurship, including strategy, culture (encompassing both people and confidence), branding, operational excellence, cost efficiency, and transfer and application of knowledge.Thus, an enhanced understanding of strategic entrepreneurship as a concept is obtained, being activity which is both entrepreneurial and strategic in nature, and characterised by the integration of the six core elements. Findings indicate strategic entrepreneurship is a concept not bound by context, and thus, may be applied to various forms of business. Such businesses which do create strategic entrepreneurship activity and are able to maintain a balance of the core elements over time have the potential for both competitive advantage and wealth creation.