Abstract

This study focuses how the apportionment of resources and rewards promotes or inhibits the identification and exploitation of entrepreneurial opportunities within existing firms. We pose the following questions: Are firms better off focusing on the achievements of a few star performers who may be highly innovative, or should project-level funding and the disposition of financial rewards be more broad-based? The presumption that star performers are indispensable to corporate entrepreneurship (CE) is largely unchallenged and, prior to this paper, substantially untested. Our study addresses this gap through an empirical design that examines corporate entrepreneurial activity with and without start performers. Since game-changing innovation is, by definition, destabilizing (Christensen 2013), a star-centric approach to innovation may successfully generate innovations but in so doing disable the organization’s capacity to implement those innovations. Moreover, a star system for CE may constrain the emergence of other innovative employees in a firm (Kehoe & Tzabbar, 2015). Our study addresses these gaps in the CE literature by developing and testing theory-based hypotheses regarding the impact of star systems on the long-term fate of CE initiatives and culture.

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