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57 Mastering Strategic Management
2.5 Entrepreneurial Orientation
Table 2.8 Understanding Entrepreneurial Orientation A famous Nike slogan encourages people to “just do it!” For people and organizations that have developed
an entrepreneurial orientation, “just do it!” is a way of life. While often associated with starting new ventures, an entrepreneurial orientation can be very valuable to established organizations too. Below we describe each of the five characteristics associated with an entrepreneurial orientation: autonomy, competitive aggressiveness, innovativeness, proactiveness, and risk-taking.
Autonomy – The tendency to bring forth ideas and see them through to completion.
Microsoft’s values statement notes, “We take on big challenges, and pride ourselves on seeing them through.” For example, Microsoft embraced a huge challenge when developing and launching its Xbox gaming system to compete with market leaders Nintendo and Sony.
Competitive Aggressiveness – The tendency to intensely and directly challenge rivals rather than trying to avoid competition.
One of Nike’s past mission statements — “To experience the emotion of competition, winning, and crushing competitors” — highlights its aggressiveness.
Innovativeness – The tendency to pursue novel ideas, creative processes, and experimentation.
3M has built its business around its mission statement: to solve unsolved problems innovatively. 3M employs over 7,000 researchers and it was awarded nearly 600 patents in 2010. 3M’s innovativeness has led it to develop thousands of products (such as Post-it notes and Scotch tape) that are sold in almost 200 countries.
Proactiveness – The tendency to anticipate and act on future opportunities rather than rely solely on existing products and services.
Proactive Communications Inc. lives up to its name by focusing on emerging and unusual opportunities. The firm embraces contracts in war zones and natural disaster areas that are often avoided by other telecommunications firms.
Risk Taking – The tendency to take bold actions rather than being cautious.
Richard Brandson’s launching of Virgin Galactic — a company that plans to offer suborbital spaceflights to commercial passengers — reflects his love of high-risk, high-reward ventures.