Academic journal article Journal of Applied Management and Entrepreneurship

Team Charters and Systematic Search: A Prescription for Corporate Entrepreneurship

Academic journal article Journal of Applied Management and Entrepreneurship

Team Charters and Systematic Search: A Prescription for Corporate Entrepreneurship

Article excerpt


During the Battle of the Bulge, the 101st Airborne was surrounded by the Wehrmacht at Bastogne. Lacking logistical support and reinforcements, the American paratroopers ran dangerously low on ammunition, suffered heavy casualties, and received a demand for unconditional surrender from the German commander. George Patton's 3rd Army was given the mission of rescuing the 101st. The Third Army moved so rapidly during that closure that it literally outran the topographic maps of the region supplied by its cartographers. A tank commander, vexed at an unmarked crossroads, asked General Patton for orders. Patton waved his riding crop (ever the cavalry officer) in the direction of the Rhine and said: "Go East! Just go East!"

-Nye 1993 (Col. Nye was a senior member of Patton's staff during the German offensive into the Ardennes in December 1944.)

All business disciplines in academia are committed to applied science, that is, scholars try dutifully to disseminate newly-acquired knowledge. Sometimes scholars enjoy notable success, while other efforts yield disappointment. There are striking parallels between corporate entrepreneurs and academics - lots of whiffs, punctuated by an occasional home run.

Corporate entrepreneurship, once considered a solo endeavor, has evolved into a team responsibility (e.g. Cooper and Daily 1997; Gartner, Shaver, Gatewood and Katz 1994). The importance of corporate entrepreneurial teams cannot be underestimated. New ventures originating with entrepreneurial teams commonly outperform those created by individuals (Johannisson 1998; Watson, Ponthieu and Critelli 1995). Furthermore, when individual talent, energy and skills are properly formed and well-managed, venture teams often become synergistic, making the whole greater than the sum of the parts (Reich 1987). Current studies in the corporate entrepreneur literature have examined such things as team composition and formation (cf. Clarysse and Moray 2004), the role of the team leader (cf. Chen 2007), and the role of entrepreneurial teams (cf. Iacobucci and Rosa 2010). Yet no studies have been conducted related to the formal creation of entrepreneurial teams and the protocols with which the team will function in order to maximize synergies and enhance entrepreneurial outcomes. Successful entrepreneurial teams are difficult to create and maintain (Kamm, Shuman, Seeger, and Nurick 1990); therefore, strategies for creating powerful synergies may provide the competitive edge that leads to successful ventures.

The goal of this project is to introduce, develop, and integrate a pair of pre-existing concepts that hold the promise to significantly improve the discovery of wealth-generating ideas in the domain of corporate entrepreneurship: Team Charters and Systematic Search. Furthermore, we develop a process that guides teams from creation to evaluation of entrepreneurial endeavors. This emergent duality of team charters and systematic search has been subjected to critical reviews of each component's theoretical development and empirical examination. Moreover, these concepts have successfully made the jump from classic experiment to teachable applications.

Our contribution to the corporate entrepreneurship literature stems from the integration of these two concepts. Together, they have the power to produce an effect sufficiently compelling that they may become central features of all corporate entrepreneurship initiatives. Specifically, we offer three overarching objectives in this project. The first is to introduce and meld two disparate constructs that have powerful implications for corporate entrepreneurship - team charters and systematic search. In the context of intra-firm venturing, this duality should exist in tandem with team charters leading and systematic search following. The next objective is to explicate a valuation framework for assessing the wealth-generating potential of an idea. There is an emergent concept in the entrepreneurship literature identified by the pseudo acronym FVRI. …

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