Title: The role of customer and user knowledge in internal corporate venturing: the viewpoint of the corporate entrepreneur

Authors: Thomas Abrell; Markus Durstewitz

Addresses: Institute of Information Management, University of St. Gallen, Unterer Graben 21, CH-9000 St. Gallen, Switzerland ' Airbus Operations GmbH, Kreetslag 10, 21129 Hamburg, Germany

Abstract: To meet the challenge of continuous innovation, established corporations turn to entrepreneurial innovation, for which one of the success factors is working with customers and users and using their knowledge. This study contributes to the body of knowledge by addressing the role of customer knowledge and user knowledge in early internal corporate venturing projects in business-to-business (B2B) firms. We conducted a single case study with five sub-cases in a large European manufacturing corporation. Our contributions are two-fold: First, we show that the characteristics of the B2B manufacturing industry prevent tacit customer knowledge from being acquired in the early stage of internal corporate venturing, so corporate entrepreneurs must rely on explicit customer knowledge. Second, we find a difference between user corporate entrepreneurs with personal user backgrounds and developer corporate entrepreneurs, who do not consider user knowledge important. We find first evidence of user entrepreneurship in the early stage of internal corporate venturing.

Keywords: internal corporate venturing; customer knowledge; user knowledge; user entrepreneurship; corporate entrepreneurship; entrepreneurial innovation; business-to-business; B2B firms; manufacturing industry; tacit knowledge; explicit knowledge; personal users; developers.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTM.2016.078567

International Journal of Technology Management, 2016 Vol.71 No.3/4, pp.171 - 185

Published online: 24 Aug 2016 *

Full-text access for editors Full-text access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article