What's so entrepreneurial about intrapreneurs?

Aloña Martiarena*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper discusses the determinants of becoming an intrapreneur. Individuals maximise their utility while deciding among three occupations: independent entrepreneurship, paid employment and intrapreneurship. I show that intrapreneurs resemble employees rather than entrepreneurs. Specifically, comparing the decision-making of intrapreneurs to that of entrepreneurs, the former are significantly more risk averse, expect lower but less uncertain reward and are broadly endowed with a poorer set of entrepreneurial abilities; despite having higher levels of human capital they fail to recognise business opportunities and have lower confidence in their entrepreneurial skills. A distinction within the category of intrapreneurship, based on the level of engagement and therefore the level of personal risks they bear, adds to our understanding of intrapreneurship. Engaged intrapreneurs, i. e., intrapreneurs that expect to acquire an ownership stake in the business, unlike the rest of intrapreneurs, share the attributes usually assumed to characterise entrepreneurs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-39
Number of pages13
JournalSmall Business Economics
Issue number1
Early online date1 Jul 2011
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013


  • entrepreneurship
  • GEM
  • intrapreneurship
  • occupational choice theory


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