The study of Corporate Entrepreneurship (CE) is gaining increasing interest within the field of Entrepreneurship. Much research has been carried out, mainly focusing on identifying determinants and outcomes of CE. Scholars suggest that the term corporate entrepreneurship encompasses two types of phenomena: corporate venturing (CV) and strategic renewal. CV is seen as a way in which firm-level entrepreneurship is expressed. Nevertheless, a combination of empirical observation and theoretical reflections has led us to reconsider the phenomenon of CV. We carried out a case study analysis of a well known Italian company operating in the food industry: Riso Gallo. Past research on the organizational determinants of firm-level entrepreneurship investigated only those factors strictly related to the internal environment of the company, overlooking those organizational aspects that go beyond the current firm boundaries. The case study suggests that CV can be seen not only as an effect of CE but also as an organizational arrangement that enhances entrepreneurship in companies.
[...] A company that sells products that has no market because a market for these products does not exist yet.' (Cesare Preve, Chairman) Summing up, the organization of Naturis has all those features that are considered organizational antecedents of Corporate Entrepreneurship (CE). Naturis is originated as a spin-off of Riso Gallo, an established and well- known Italian family company, founded in 1876. The company Naturis, a medium-sized Italian firm plays a strong entrepreneurial role within the mature industry of rice. Conclusion The set up of Naturis appears to be a case of CV, an expression of CE. [...]
[...] More precisely, Naturis is a case of internal venturing, resulting from the entrepreneurial orientation of Riso Gallo. Nevertheless, Naturis was responsible for the subsequent entrepreneurial activities of Riso Gallo, consisting in the continuous development of new products based on the dehydration technology. Thus, this case suggests that CV can be considered not only as a way through which the CE expresses itself, but also as a determinant of it. Past research on the organizational determinants of firm-level entrepreneurship investigated only those factors strictly related to the internal environment of the company, overlooking those organizational aspects that go beyond the current firm boundaries. [...]
[...] II/ Corporate Entrepreneurship and Corporate Venture in Riso Gallo: the role of Naturis Naturis was conceived as being a research oriented company, organized in a flexible and organic way in order to be ready to spot innovation opportunities. The company acted exploring the potential opportunities related to the dehydration process, thus identifying new uses for precooked dehydrated rice. The contribution of Naturis to Riso Gallo's entrepreneurship is evident. In the first 7 years the activity of Naturis was characterized by the study and the production of dehydrated rice, sold to those companies using rice as an ingredient for their dry-food products. [...]
[...] Each person operating in Naturis is called on to identify and exploit opportunities: the production manager identified the opportunity to include dehydrated rice in canned food; the President spotted the opportunity to produce Risò; marketing and R&D staff equally contributed to the recognizing of other opportunities. The President of Naturis stated that even the secretaries are called on to identify opportunities. Integration systems There is a person acting as a system integrator: Cesare Preve. He is involved in all the activities of the company, thus reducing barriers between functions. [...]
[...] Given the market potential of quick-cook rice, Riso Gallo decided to invest in this research line, in order to spot all the opportunities related to the dehydration process. For this reason in 1988 Riso Gallo set up a joint venture with a micro-firm, Puccinelli, producing dehydrated vegetables: the joint venture was called Naturis and has been run since its foundation by a Preve family member (Cesare Preve). The setting up of Naturis was a clear case of CV in Riso Gallo. [...]
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