Intrapreneurial orientation in small and medium-sized enterprises: An exploration at the employee level

Chris Schachtebeck, Darelle Groenewald, Cecile Nieuwenhuizen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Orientation: The South African economy and, in particular, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have shown uninspiring performance, reflected in low levels of job creation, worryingly low levels of total early-stage entrepreneurial activity and entrepreneurial employee activity (EEA). As SMEs are the innovation and growth engine of an economy, the poor EEA levels (0.7%) indicate lacklustre levels of innovation and intrapreneurial activity. Research purpose: This study aims to fill the void by assessing the effect of intrapreneurial orientation (IO) at the employee level on internal SME growth. Motivation for the study: Despite this bleak outlook, to date no study has attempted to determine the influence of an IO on SME growth metrics. Research design, approach and method: The study is quantitative in nature, using an adapted questionnaire and employing a random sampling approach. Data were analysed by means of factor, correlation and regression analyses. A total of 290 responses were received from SME employees across South Africa. Main findings: The empirical study showed that only risk-taking, innovativeness, personal control, self-esteem and certain managerial factors positively relate to the growth of an SME. Practical/managerial implications: The findings provide insights for managers within SMEs on improving employee entrepreneurial activity and growth rates, by means of focusing on growth-supportive IO interventions. Contribution/value-add: The findings of this research are beneficial to academia and industry as the framework and measuring instrument offer additional insights into IO within SMEs.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbera638
JournalActa Commercii
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • SMEs
  • South Africa
  • intrapreneurial orientation
  • intrapreneurship
  • small and medium-sized enterprises

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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